Worcester Warriors ace Ben Jones was in action as England Sevens claimed the Wellington Cup after a last-gasp conversion from former old boy Ben Gollings.
Gollings held his nerve to convert Isoa Damudamu's breakaway try in the dying seconds to beat New Zealand by two points and claim their first NZI Sevens title.
New Zealand looked on course for victory after leading throughout but England captain Ollie Phillips inspired the fight back and Damu's try at the death pulled England level, leaving Gollings with a conversion in front of the posts.
At the end of the NZI Sevens in Wellington South Africa remain top of the IRB Sevens World Series standings with 48 points, having won the Plate, ahead of England and New Zealand on 44 points. Argentina and Fiji lie a further 16 points behind on 28.
England Coach Ben Ryan said, "It's amazing. The final whistle went and Damu was galloping over the tryline. This is my first tournament win and this is England's first tournament win in New Zealand. We're one tournament away from the World Cup so this is good timing for us.
"We have worked really hard to get to this point. We've had consistency in our players, they're fit and they have a lot of belief.
"Our job is to develop these players. Playing away from home against a New Zealand side who have huge support is testing but the boys played to their potential. If we can win here then we have a pretty good chance everywhere else we play."