The Springbok Sevens team on Saturday scored a well-deserving 26-14 win over Olympic Games Rugby Sevens champions, Fiji, to win the Emirates Dubai Sevens tournament, the first of ten in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Spearheaded by 11 tries from World Rugby’s Sevens Player of the Year, Seabelo Senatla, the Blitzboks showed great attacking skills, but an all-consuming defence was the highlight of their play on Day Two at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai.
The Blitzboks opened their day with a 40-0 win over New Zealand in the Cup quarter-final and then eased past Wales 36-5 to book a place in the final with Fiji.
In the final, the South Africans struck early. First Cecil Afrika scored in the opening minute before a great run by Branco du Preez extended the lead to 14 points.
Fiji did score just before the break and just after to cancel out the early advantage.
The Springbok Sevens team showed great determination on defence though and forced Fiji into mistakes. A try by Chris Dry and the inevitable five pointer by Senatla made sure of a fifth Emirates Cup win for the team.
Earlier in the day, they advanced to the Cup Final with a great attacking display, beating Wales 36-5 in their semifinals clash.
Senatla scored three tries in six minutes to give his side a 19-0 lead at the break. The winger had some work to do to score the first, but will be the first to thank the efforts of Afrika and Du Preez in the next two.
Those early scores settled the contest, especially after Justin Geduld scored in the second half. Wales did pull one back, but a try from Werner Kok and a second from Geduld confirmed a place in the final and a 36-5 win.
The Blitzboks scored six tries in their biggest win ever over New Zealand, beating the Kiwis 40-0 in their quarterfinals clash.
It was a fine defensive effort by the Blitzboks that laid the foundation for this win. The South Africans kept New Zealand under pressure with some great tackles and pounced every time New Zealand spilled the ball or turned over possession.
Afrika and Senatla scored in the opening two minutes of the match and that set the tone for the rest of the match. Kyle Brown stole a New Zealand line-out ball to score and put his side 19-0 up at the break, but in the second half, three more tries confirmed the dominance.
Tries by Dry, Geduld and Kok rounded off a solid display by South Africa.
- Senatla finished top scorer at the tournament with 55 points (11 tries) and was named Player of the Tournament, with Chris Dry named Player of the Final. Dry (23) finished the tournament as top tackler and Werner Kok came in third with 20 tackles.
South Africa also finished top in try-scoring stakes, with 30 tries at an average of five per match. England and Fiji were in second place with 25 tries each.
The top five log positions after the opening tournament are:
- South Africa 22
- Fiji 19
- England 17
- Wales 15
- Australia 13
The pools for next weekend’s HSBC Cape Town Sevens have also been confirmed.
Pool A: South Africa, Australia, USA, Russia
Pool B: Fiji, France, Kenya, Japan
Pool C: England, New Zealand, Argentina, Canada
Pool D: Wales, Scotland, Samoa, Uganda