The Springbok Sevens team moved back into the second position on the log of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series on Sunday when they finished third in the HSBC Vancouver Sevens tournament.
The South Africans outplayed Argentina 28-0 in the bronze final after suffering a heart-breaking 26-21 loss against Fiji in the semifinal, having earlier beat New Zealand 12-7 in the Cup quarterfinal Sunday morning.
Kenya, who lost to South Africa in pool play, then shocked Fiji, beating the log leaders by 30-7 in the Cup Final to win their first ever tournament in the series.
The Blitzboks win over New Zealand secured them second spot (139 points) as it moved them past the Kiwi’s (135 points). Fiji is still leading with 147 points and with only tournaments in Paris and London left, must be favourites to win the series outright.
Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, was happy with his team’s effort over the weekend and the way they finished against Argentina.
“They really came for us in that first half and we managed to keep them out. I wanted to give the guys mostly playing off the bench some proper game time and they responded well to that challenge. The extra two points we collected by winning that final is also very important and helped us back into second overall.”
Powell’s team missed out on the final again, but that is not disheartening the coach.
“The margins in sevens are so small and when we play Fiji or New Zealand, it is always just one try that proves the difference. So that Fiji tackle on the corner flag on Stephen Dippenaar preventing him from scoring what probably would have been the match-winner shows how tight the margins are. I cannot blame the players for lack of effort. Whenever they take the field, they really play for that jersey and each other. They left nothing out there,” said Powell.
“I believe firmly we are on the right track to be a very successful team.”
South Africa’s defense again dominated the statistics of the tournament. They made 105 tackles, more than any other team and now also leads the most tackles stats for the season. Amazingly, the Blitzboks only missed six tackles all weekend.
Tim Agaba was the leading Blitzbok, with 17 tackles made. Chris Dry however, remains the best tackler in the competition with 109 tackles made in seven tournaments.
Seabelo Senatla, who moved past 50 tries for the season, again featured amongst the try scorers and his six five-pointers were only equalled by Zach Test of the USA. Senatla also made the most line breaks (7), sharing that with Masivesi Dakuwaqa (Fiji) and James Johnstone (Scotland). Senatla also extended his try scoring tally for the series to 54.
Justin Geduld was the highest points’ scorer for South Africa though with 31. His overall tally this season is 238, fifth overall, with Senatla on 270 third overall.
The World Series log after eight tournaments completed:
1. Fiji 147
2. South Africa 139
3. New Zealand 135
4. Australia 115
5. USA 95
6. Argentina 92
7. Kenya 85
8. England 75
9. Samoa 62
•The draw for the HSBC Paris Sevens, to be played on 13-16 May has been completed. South Africa, as top seed in pool C, will face England on Day One and Brazil and Australia on Day Two.
The pools are:
A: Kenya, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia
B: Fiji, Samoa, Scotland, Wales
C: South Africa, Australia, England, Brazil
D: Argentina, France, USA, Canada