Blue Bulls and Border crowned winners at 2016 Interprovincial Sevens

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The Blue Bulls and Border sevens teams were crowned SA Rugby Interprovincial Men’s and Women’s champions respectively on Saturday, following the staging of a highly entertaining two day tournament in the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

For the Blue Bulls, it was a second win in Nelspruit, after they also took honours in 2015 and their 40-10 win over the Golden Lions was full of merit.

The Border Women’s team had a much closer affair in their final, edging out the Blue Bulls 15-12 and toppling the defending champions.

In the men’s final, the Golden Lions were on the scoresheet first. They won a line-out close to the Blue Bulls line, changed direction and Mark Alberts crashed over.

They scored a second unconverted try soon after, before a burst by WJ Strydom saw the Blue Bulls close the gap to three points. Another try shortly thereafter put the Blue Bulls in the lead for the first time.

Another burst by Strydom on the buzzer saw them jump into a 21-10 lead at the break.

Strydom, who finished the tournament as top scorer with 85 points, was also named Player of the Tournament.

The Blue Bulls started the second half well, scoring a quick try, which gave the Blue Bulls a lot of confidence. After that they ran riot and secured the win long before the final hooter.

The Blue Bulls beat hosts, the Pumas (Lowveld) in the one semifinal and the Golden Lions edged the Griffons in the other.

The Griffons had a fast start against the Golden Lions in their semifinal, with Selvyn Davids proving a handful with his elusive running. The Golden Lions proved to be the more physical side and dominated the tackle situation. The Griffons had the upper hand at the break, but the Gauteng side took the lead after two minutes in the second half and never looked back, winning 31-21 to advance to the final.

The Blue Bulls had to overcome a strong start by the Pumas (Lowveld) to secure a place in the final. They held a 21-0 lead at the break and had most of the field position and possession.

The home side came back into the game with two tries, but the Blue Bulls sealed the result with a fourth try, winning 26-12.

Earlier in the day, the Golden Lions outplayed the Leopards 28-0 in the quarterfinals. The Northwest team did not show any of the intensity from Day One, while the Golden Lions did. The Griffons raced to a 17-0 lead over Western Province and then held on in the second half to advance to the semifinal. The Blue Bulls proved to fit for SWD in a close game, winning 26-19. In the last quarterfinal clash, the Pumas dramatically scored in the last play of the match to nip Eastern Province at the line, winning 22-21.

The men’s trophy winners are:

Shield: Pumas (Highveld), beating Free State 31-21

Bowl: Boland, beating Border 26-12

Plate: Western Province, beating Eastern Province 26-14

Third Place: Griffons, beating Pumas (Lowveld) 24-7

Cup: Blue Bulls, beating Golden Lions 40-10.

  • In the Women’s tournament, the Border team had to dig deep to edge the Blue Bulls, but proved to be the best attacking side in the tournament. They scored 33 tries in six matches and only conceded five.

They opened the scoring against the Blue Bulls for a 7-0 lead. Two quick tries by the Blue Bulls following some industrious play allowed them to jump into the lead and although Border scored a long range effort soon after, the Blue Bulls had a 12-10 lead at the break.

The Blue Bulls then lost Nadine Roos to a yellow card and this proved costly as Border raced through to score and take the lead again. They then held on till the final phase of play to secure the title.

The Blue Bulls started well against Eastern Province in their semifinal match, scoring in the opening minute. They held that lead at the break and Libbie Janse van Rensburg dotted down for the Blue Bulls early in the second half to extend the lead to 14-0. EP did score late in the half, but it was too little too late.

In the other semifinal between Border and the Sharks, the latter battled to keep the powerful runners of the East London side at bay. Two early Border tries set the tone of the match and they won 29-0.

The Women trophy winners are:

Shield: Limpopo Blue Bulls, beating SWD 17-7

Bowl: Pumas, beating Leopards 21-5

Plate: Western Province, beating Free State 12-10

Third Place: Sharks, beating EP 14-12

Final Cup: Border, beating Blue Bulls 15-12

Issued by SA Rugby Communications

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