New Zealand just had too much class for the Springbok Sevens side in the final of the Hong Kong Sevens, running out 26-12 winners.
The Boks conceded an early try which put them on the back foot, and even though they drew to within seven points of New Zealand at one stage, they were just never on the same planet skills and strength wise. Coach Paul Treu, however, lauded his side for progressing as far as they did.
“The last time that we played in a Hong Kong final was 11 years ago at Rugby World Cup Sevens. Back then we had world class players like Andre Joubert, Andre Venter, Chester Williams and Joost Van der Westhuizen, whereas there are no big name players in this squad. To come out here and go all the way to the Hong Kong Cup final is an awesome achievement for our young team,” he said.
The Kiwis dominated the collisions and breakdowns, stifling the Boks’ flow, and were clinical with the majority of their opportunities. Treu acknowledged his side’s physical shortcomings.
“One thing that we have to realise is that we will never beat New Zealand physically,” he said. “We will have to play the game much smarter and there were a few times were we went into contact and lost the ball. Those are areas that we need to think about and just identify the opportunities on the field.”
The Boks consolidated their second place standing on the series log, but have no hope of tracking down New Zealand, who’ve won every leg of the series to date. Treu was, however, optimistic about the future.
“In terms of confidence we are really looking forward to Adelaide and if we can keep our momentum that we have built over the past two tournaments in San Diego and here in Hong Kong, I honestly believe that we can reach all three remaining finals.”
France won the Plate final against Argentina, 17-14, in sudden death while Russia beat off a brave Zimbabwe to win 19-14 and retain the Bowl trophy.