South Africa to battle Fiji for USA Sevens Cup final spot

Feb 15 • Blitz Bokke, International, Sevens Rugby, Sevens World Series, World Rugby • 2797 Views • Comments Off on South Africa to battle Fiji for USA Sevens Cup final spot

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Photo: Marc Sing Key

South Africa will face Fiji in the semi-finals of the USA Sevens in Las Vegas after a last minute try by scrumhalf Branco du Preez secured a hard fought 21-14 victory over England early on Sunday morning (SA time).

The Springbok Sevens now face Fiji later on Sunday (22h32, live on SuperSport) and a win for the South Africans will see them progress to their third straight Cup final at the Sam Boyd Stadium.

Hosts USA and New Zealand will contest the other semi-final after the US brushed aside Canada 20-0 and NZ defeated Australia 28-7.

Neil Powell, the Springbok Sevens coach, praised his team for their fighting spirit against both the United States and England.

“We knew the USA would come out fighting. They have been playing very well for a while now and they were always going to be tough to beat in front of their home supporters. England also continued their good form and I am pleased for the boys who showed huge fighting spirit against them,” said Powell.

South Africa are chasing their third successive Cup title in Las Vegas but Powell refuses to get carried away by their excellent track at the Nevada desert venue.

“Anyone of the four teams in the semis can win this tournament and Fiji will be a huge challenge for us. We will stick to our plan, which will require a lot of focus and discipline,” said Powell.

Defending champions South Africa were made to work very hard against a well organised and attacking England side. Kwagga Smith powered his way over the English line to open the scoring for the Springbok Sevens, but it was England who went ahead after scores by skipper Tom Mitchell and Warwick Lahmert.

South African flyer Seabelo Senatla finished off a slick move by Du Preez and Kyle Brown to level matters at 14-14. A tense battle then followed as both teams desperately searched for the winning score.

Du Preez eventually broke free to score the crucial try to send his team through to the last four of the Cup.

The United States continued their good form of late, which saw them reach a third consecutive HSBC Sevens World Series Cup quarterfinal this season.

They made South Africa battle all the way in a thrilling 19-19 draw. The result enabled South Africa to clinch top spot in Pool C on points difference.

Cecil Afrika, Warrick Gelant and Senatla were the South African scorers while Maka Unufe (2) and Andrew Durutalo dotted down for the USA.

The Springbok Sevens and Fiji have scored two wins each in their previous four encounters in Las Vegas.

· SuperSport will broadcast all the action live from Las Vegas.

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