Blitzboks fall short
23 May 2010
Australia beat South Africa 19-14 in the Cup final of the London Sevens at Twickenham.
After an undefeated run on day one, the Blitzboks topped their pool to find themselves in a quarterfinal tie against England. The hosts were tipped to beat the South African team who rarely passed the Cup quarterfinal stage this season, however, with the added experience of Neil Powell, Mzwandile Stick and Fabian Juries, the defending champions outclassed the Poms in the first half.
South Africa were on the front foot in the early stages and camped in England’s 22m area. Ben Gollings was eventually sin-binned after the home team was guilty of frequent errors in their red zone. This allowed South Africa to build an a 12-0 lead after MJ Mentz and Ryno Benjamin dived over.
England failed to settle in the first stanza as they continued to concede penalties at the tackle points. Cecil Afrika exposed a weak defensive effort from England as the Griffons speedster scored from a quick-penalty tap on the half-time mark. South Africa led 17-0 at the break.
The Blitzboks went into defence mode in the second half as they were prepared to hold on to their 17-point advantage. They did well to keep the England scoreless after an early attacking onslaught, but their defensive line was eventually broken after Tom Varndell crossed the chalk.
Powell and Stick were yellow-carded in quick succession in the final minute of play to create an intense finish but England only managed one try as they fell five points short.
The Blitzboks continued their winning run in London with a semi-final win over Samoa. Like the quarterfinal, they were impressive in the first stanza. Afrika showed off his pace as he capitalised on a loose ball and had a 50m run in at the corner.
Samoa took the the lead moments later with a converted try but with structured play, the Blitzboks outdid the South Pacific Islanders in three phases for Benjamin to secure a 12-7 half-time lead.
Chris Dry extended the South Africans’ lead to 12 points with a soft try after the restart. However, Samoa proved why they are on top of the World Series log as they got back into the game with a five-pointer of their own.
Samoa had several chances to regain the lead, but poor handling and lack of composure saw them fail to get back into the game. Juries sealed South Africa’s place in the final as his brilliant chip and chase was the final score of the game.
However, South Africa would get their first taste of defeat in London against Australia in the Cup final. It was a disappointing to end to what was their most impressive tournament of the 2010 World Series.
The Aussies outscored the defending champions four tries to three with James Stanard’s and Henry Vanderglas’ second half tries proving the significant scores.
In other results, New Zealand grabbed the consolation Plate title after beating Fiji 26-24.
Springbok Sevens results, Day 2:
Cup quarterfinal: England 12 South Africa 17
Cup semi-final: South Africa 24 Samoa 12
Cup final: South Africa 19 Australia 14
For all fixtures and results click here