Fiji denied South Africa their first ever Hong Kong Sevens crown as they held on to claim a hard-fought 26-24 victory.
Fiji came out flying in the first half blitzing South Africa with three quick tries to run out to a 19-0 lead. But the Bok Sevens were not going to be run over and two tries by Renfred Dazel and Robert Ebersohn put South Africa right back in contention at the end of the first half.
The islanders struck back in the second half as they scored their fourth try and moved out to a 26-12 lead. Fiji then had a man sent to the bin, and Vuyo Zangqa scored South Africa’s third to bring the gap back to just seven points.
With less then a minute left Fiji had another man sent off and Mpho Mbiyozo scored South Africa’s fourth try, but Mzwandile Stick’s drop attempt went just wide as Fiji held on for a famous win.
“You can’t chase 19 points against a team like Fiji and expect to win, which is what makes the final so disappointing,” Treu told sarugby.co.za. “We missed too many tackles in that first half but I was pleased with the character the team showed and the way they came back.
“Overall our performance was back towards where it should be; we rediscovered our intensity and stuck to the gameplan after some below par performances in recent tournaments. We were much better focused here and it may have helped that we have set the players small performance goals within tournaments.”
South Africa cruised into the final with some impressively controlled displays. The Springboks enjoyed emphatic play-off victories over Australia in the quarter-finals (24-10) and Samoa in the last four (29-3) having come through their Pool with wins over Korea (29-7), Uruguay (53-0) and France (26-12).
“We didn’t concede a try against Samoa and the way we played against Australia and France was definitely a huge improvement on our performances at the World Cup,” said Treu. “But it’s still a sore feeling: maybe I’ll feel better when I wake up tomorrow.”
For a full list of results click here.