The Springbok Sevens finished third after a 41-7 thrashing of Kenya on day two of the Gold Coast Sevens.
In the bronze play-off against Kenya, Cornal Hendrick starred with his second hat-trick of the tournament as South Africa cruised to a big win. Paul Delport also scored a brace, while Frankie Horne, Steven Hunt and Stephen Dippenaar also dotted down.
Kenya scored their solitary try via Oscar Ouma in the second half.
While the Springbok Sevens disappointed in their 21-10 Cup semi-final loss to eventual winners Fiji (who beat New Zealand 32-14 in the Cup final), it was an impressive tournament run overall and a positive start to the 2012-13 World Series campaign.
The next leg will be played in Dubai on 30 November and 1 December.
Earlier on day two, Fiji punished an errant Blitzboks performance in the Cup semis. Paul Treu’s team made too many mistakes on attack, while their defence leaked three tries for the Pacific Islanders to secure victory. It was South Africa’s worst performance of the leg.
Fiji led 14-7 at the break as Ulaiyasi Tavucuilagi and Joji Raqamate grabbed tries. Cecil Afrika’s score left the Springbok Sevens within reach at half-time.
In the second stanza, Fiji were reduced to six players as Ilai Tinai was yellow-carded for a trip. The Blitzboks camped inside the opposition’s red zone during this period, but only left with a Branco du Preez drop goal.
South Africa had their opportunities to search for what would’ve been a match-winning score, but they were restricted by a physical defence. Fiji then scored against the run of play via Tinai.
In the Cup quarter-final, the Blitzboks beat France 26-14.
South Africa scored two tries via Hunt and Kyle Brown in the first stanza to hold a 14-7 lead at the break. Terry Bouhraoua hit back for the French.
The Blitzboks cruised to victory in the second half as Afrika and Hendricks crossed the chalk. France grabbed a consolation try at the death via Renaud Delmas.
Blitzboks’ fixtures (Day 2):
Cup quarter-finals: South Africa 26 France 14
Cup semi-finals: South Africa 10 Fiji 21
3rd/4th play-off: South Africa 41 Kenya 7
By Gareth Duncan