Scotland were beaten in the Bowl final by Samoa after enjoying wins over Portugal and Japan on day two of the Wellington Sevens.
Following another failure to reach the premier Cup quarter-finals after finishing third in Pool A on the opening day, Calum MacRae’s men despatched the Portuguese 29-12 in the Bowl quarter thanks to tries by James Johnstone (2), Scott Riddell, Joseva Nayacavou and Mark Robertson.
In a ding-dong battle with Japan in the semi-final, Nick Grigg, Jamie Farndale (2), Nick McLennan and Nayacavou were the scorers in a 31-26 win.
They ran out of steam against the Pacific Islanders, however, and Gavin Lowe got the only try in a 19-7 reverse.
The outcome leaves MacRae’s men lying tenth in the overall standings heading into the next tournament in Sydney.
Joe Webber scored a try after the siren as New Zealand beat South Africa 24-21 in the Cup final, defending the title won on home soil last year.
Webber also scored in extra time to give New Zealand a win over South Africa in pool play.
New Zealand, who had the Olympics-targeting World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams in their squad, beat Kenya 33-0 in Sunday’s quarter-finals and England 22-5 in the semi-finals, while South Africa defeated Australia 26-14 and World Series leaders Fiji 31-0.
South Africa now lead the Series standings by two points from Fiji, who beat England 24-12 in the play-off for third place. New Zealand moved up to third ahead of next weekend’s trip across the Tasman to Sydney.