Paul Treu’s Blitzbokke salvaged some pride (and points) in Wellington, New Zealand, when they emphatically beat Tonga 26-0 in the Plate Final.
Two Cecil Afrika tries helped South Africa beat Tonga 24-0 to win the Plate Final earlier today at the New Zealand Sevens in Wellington. The Springbok Sevens collected 13 valuable points and move to 61 points overall, where they are now placed fourth in the standings of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
New Zealand won their home tournament for a second year in a row after beating closest rivals Fiji 24-7 in the Cup Final. England beat Samoa 21-12 in the playoff for third place.
Having gone unbeaten on the opening day, the Blitzbokke were relegated to the Plate division with a 21-5 loss to Fiji in the Cup quarterfinals, their first outing of match day two. They were then made to work hard against a determined Canadian side, who lost a close fought encounter 21-19.
Tries by Stephan Dippenaar, Cornal Hendricks, Kyle Brown and three conversions by Afrika saw South Africa through against a stubborn Canada in the Plate semifinals.
In the Plate Final, South Africa scored a convincing win over Tonga who could not repeat their excellent from of the previous day, when they qualified as unbeaten pool leaders for the Cup quarterfinals. A brace of tries by Afrika, the current IRB Sevens Player of the Year, and one each by Frankie Horne and Brown, secured victory for the Blitzbokke.
Brown, the Springbok Sevens skipper, said afterwards: “I suppose when you lose out in a Cup quarterfinal you’ve got to maximise your points for the rest of the tournament, and we did that. We had a really tough game against Canada. They’re really showing how they’re growing every single week, and then we met up with Tonga and played as clinically as we could to win.”
The Series now moves to the United States, where South Africa is the defending Las Vegas champions.
“The USA Sevens has been good to us these last couple of years. We enjoy playing there so we’ll go there now and just try and be as clinical as we have been today,” added Brown.
USA Pool draw
Meanwhile, the IRB has confirmed the pool draw for round five of the World Series in Las Vegas, on 10-12 February. South Africa are seeded second in Pool C and will play against France, Wales and South American qualifiers, Uruguay.
As Wellington Sevens champions, New Zealand top pool A at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. They face a tough trio of matches against former Series champions Samoa, trans-Tasman rivals Australia and Japan.
Fiji reached their second Cup final of the Series in Wellington and, as runners-up, head Pool B and face matches against Canada, Argentina and tournament hosts, USA.
Kenya headed the draw in Pool D, where the Series’ third-ranked side England will start as favourites alongside Scotland and Brazil.
Current World Series champions New Zealand raced into the lead on top of the standings with 73 points., three clear of Fiji on 70 with England third on 64 and South Africa fourth with 61.
Shield Final: Scotland 19-7 Cook Islands
Bowl Final: Kenya 12-7 Australia
Plate Final: South Africa 26-0 Tonga
Cup Final: New Zealand 24-7 Fiji