Day 2 Report
The BlitzBokke have taken their third title in four finals when they beat the English in Sydney Cup Final on Sunday….
Appearing in their fourth final from as many events, the Blitzboks headed into Sunday’s clash as favourites, but England would have had reason to be confident after beating the Springbok Sevens on day one.
England had also managed to get the better of the Blitzboks in the final of the Cape Town Sevens last December, which is now the only tournament they have failed to win this season.
Although the Blitzboks displayed some indifferent form on day one in Sydney, they built up some healthy momentum on Sunday, with good wins over the USA and Australia enabling them to progress to yet another final.
They continued to ride that wave of momentum as captain Philip Snyman finished off a well-worked move within the opening minute of play, while Seabelo Senatla then put on his dancing shoes to ghost past a couple of defenders and score a superb try.
At the stage it looked as if the Blitzboks would take a handy 12-0 into the break, but they pounced on an error from England as Justin Geduld dotted down with the final play of the half to send his side into an effectively unassailable 19-0 lead.
Again, the Blitzboks’ abrasive defence was a feature of their play as they dominated the breakdown and repeatedly held up the England ball carriers in the tackle. Indeed, having won a turnover as a result of this strong defence, the Blitzboks then recycled possession before Geduld went over to score his second try soon after the restart.
Tom Mitchell and Dan Norton did score towards the end of the clash to add some respectability to the scoreline for England, but in between, Stephan Dippenaar went over for the Blitzboks’ fifth try in the title decider.
The result sees the Blitzboks extend their healthy lead at the top of the World Rugby Sevens Series, and they now look increasingly well-placed to win their first title since the 2008-09 season.
England 14-29 South Africa
New Zealand 29-14 Australia
Fiji 35-12 USA
South Africa 26-12 Australia
England 12-5 New Zealand
Fifth Place semi-finals
USA 19-10 Wales
Argentina 21-38 Fiji
England 24-7 Argentina
New Zealand 24-21 Fiji
USA 10-21 South Africa
Wales 0-26 Australia
Russia 26-0 France
13th Place play-off
Kenya 5-10 Canada
Japan 12-19 France
Russia 17-12 Samoa
13th Place semi-finals
Canada 33-20 Papua New Guinea
Kenya 19-14 Scotland
Kenya 0-22 Russia
Scotland 14-21 Samoa
Canada 7-19 Japan
France 17-0 Papua New Guinea
Standings after four rounds:
1 South Africa 85
2 England 68
3 Fiji 64
4 New Zealand 56
5 Scotland 45
6 Australia 40
7 Wales 40
8 USA 35
9 Argentina 35
10 France 35
11 Kenya 27
12 Canada 24
13 Samoa 16
14 Russia 16
15 Japan 8
16 Uganda 4
17 Papua New Guinea 2
Thanks to SARugbyMag
more to follow…
Day 1 Report
James Rodwell scored a late try to hand England a comeback 21-15 win over the Blitzboks at the Sydney Sevens on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, the Springbok Sevens overcame Japan and Kenya, but failed to look all that convincing in the manner they went about their business.
Their indifferent form then came back to haunt them when they sacrificed an eight-point lead in the second half against England, with Dan Norton and Rodwell scoring in the latter stages to hand their side a win that sees them finish top of the pool.
The Blitzboks still finish second in the group, and will have the opportunity to compete for the Cup title on Sunday, but they will now have to do it the hard way.
Just as England did in the Cape Town Sevens final, they threw the Blitzboks off their usual free-flowing game, with Phil Burgess striking an important early blow when he scored an opportunistic try after just a couple of minutes of play.
South Africa quickly hit back with a superb solo try to Seabelo Senatla, while a beautiful cross-kick from Justin Geduld then set up Chris Dry for a five-pointer that put the Blitzboks 10-7 up at the break.
Just after the restart, Geduld then turned from provider to try scorer with a superb solo run that opened up a handy eight-point buffer, but the Blitzboks then lost their way, and it was England who pounced to finish day one undefeated.
Meanwhile, it was confirmed later on Saturday that the influential Werner Kok has been ruled out of the tournament due to a calf injury sustained against Japan.
Kok has been replaced by Stephan Dippenaar, who just joined the team yesterday. Dippenaar himself was a late replacement for Sandile Ngcobo, who had to return to South Africa for a family bereavement.
‘It was bad for us as Werner is one of our starting players and is playing very well at the moment,’ coach Neil Powell commented. ‘The next guy must now step in and shows what he can do, that is what the system is all about.’
Stats and facts:
• South Africa vs USA head to head: Played 42, South Africa won 37, Average score 26-8. Last met at Cape Town Sevens 2016, South Africa won 28-10.
• Seabelo Senatla has extended his all-time try-scoring record for the Springbok Sevens team to 186. He is also the leading try-scorer in the 2016-17 series with 30 tries.
Only England and New Zealand enjoyed perfect pool records on Day One of the Sydney Sevens while Wales also made the quarter-finals.
The trio finished top of their pools with USA winning the other group as the quartet now face Argentina, Fiji, Australia and South Africa respectively.
England finished ahead of the Blitzboks in Pool A after beating the series pace-setters 21-15 in their final pool game while New Zealand overcame Australia 26-14 in their opening match, which proved vital in Pool C.
Wales stunned Olympic champions Fiji 28-15 to finish as top dogs in Pool B and in Pool D USA managed to beat Argentina and Canada to the summit, despite losing to Russia in their last fixture of the opening day.
England v Argentina
New Zealand v Fiji
USA v South Africa
Wales v Australia
Challenge Trophy quarter-finals
Kenya v Russia
Scotland v Samoa
Canada v Japan
France v Papua New Guinea
Day One results
Argentina 19-22 USA
Canada 12-7 Russia
France 12-14 Wales
Fiji 40-0 Samoa
England 19-12 Kenya
South Africa 32-0 Japan
New Zealand 26-14 Australia
Scotland 26-12 Papua New Guinea
Argentina 19-14 Russia
Canada 19-31 USA
France 17-14 Samoa
Fiji 15-28 Wales
England 26-0 Japan
South Africa 14-7 Kenya
New Zealand 31-7 Papua New Guinea
Scotland 14-43 Australia
USA 14-17 Russia
Canada 17-17 Argentina
Wales 7-7 Samoa
Fiji 31-7 France
Kenya 17-12 Japan
South Africa 15-21 England
Australia 26-7 Papua New Guinea
Scotland 7-14 New Zealand
Sydney will be the fourth Australian city to host a leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series when the carnival heads back to these shores on this weekend
The Harbour City follows in the rather large footsteps of Brisbane, Adelaide and the Gold Coast as fans of all different cultures and allegiances from across the globe descend on Sydney.
Ballymore Stadium in Brisbane hosted Australia’s first-ever World Series leg in February 2000, the hosts only pipped by a magical try from Fijian legend Waisale Serevi in the dying moments as the Pacific Islanders won the Cup Final.
After a one-year hiatus, Ballymore once again hosted a World Series leg, this time in February 2002. Richard Graham and Cameron Pither were among the try scorers as the Aussies defeated trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand for what is still the green and golds solitary triumph on home soil.
Ballymore hosted a leg once again a year later before the a three-year gap which then saw the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) take the round to Adelaide, hosted at the iconic Adelaide Oval.
It was in South Australia that the event remained for five years (2006-2010) before the Australian leg headed north to Queensland once again and the glitter strip of the Gold Coast. Robina Stadium was home to the Australian leg of the Sevens World Series for four years between 2011-2014, the home side’s best performance being a runners-up berth in October 2013.
The ARU confirmed its decision to move the Sevens to Sydney in March 2015, to be hosted at the 45,500 capacity Allianz Stadium. In 2016, 16 teams played at the inaugural Sydney 7s – Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, USA and Wales, with World Rugby inviting one additional country from the Pacific Islands.
All you need to know about the Sydney Sevens weekend:
|Friday – 3 Feb||Saturday – 4 Feb||Sunday – 5 Feb|
|All games played at Allianz Stadium||Games played at Allianz Stadium and Kippax Field||All games played at Allianz Stadium|
Here is a bit more on the players that will represent the BlitzBoksthis weekend in New Zealand.
Physical: 1.91m & 95kg, DOB: 13/02/1988, Cape Town
Education: Grey Primary, Grey College (Bloemfontein), Central University of Technology (CUT), Bloemfontein.
Other Squads: Free State (Schools Academy, Under-19, Under-21, Vodacom Cup, Absa Currie Cup)
Tournaments: 54 – debut Adelaide 2010; 380 points (76 tries)
Dry will be one of the core players for Coach Neil Powell in this series. A very mobile and strong player, Dry brings physicality, line-out skills and grunt to the team. His experience and leadership will be an added bonus. The third most capped player in South African sevens history.
Philip Snyman (captain)
Physical: 1.88m & 96kg, DOB: 26/04/1987, Bloemfontein
Education: Grey College Primary, Grey College Bloemfontein, University of Free State
Other Squads: Free State (Coca-Cola Craven Week Schools, Under-19, Under-21, Vodacom Cup, Absa Currie Cup); Griffons Absa Currie Cup; Toyota Cheetahs Super Rugby.
Tournaments: 39; Debut – Dubai 2009, 236 points (39 tries, 15 conversions). Also RWC7s Dubai 2009, Olympic Games 2016 (bronze medal)
Snyman’s decision to forfeit a career playing Vodacom Super Rugby to play sevens has reaped huge benefits. He has become a very important squad member due to his versatility and is equally adapt playing in the forwards or backs. He can also kick at the poles as well when needed. Named captain of the side for the 2016/17 season.
Physical: 1.88m & 97kg, DOB: 24/01/1992, Cape Town
Education: Wynberg Boys High Junior, Wynberg Boys High, Varsity College
Other squads: UCT (FNB Varsity Cup), DHL Western Province Under-21; SARU Sevens Academy; Olympic Games 2016 (bronze medal)
Tournaments: 9 – debut Cape Town 2015, 45 points (nine tries).
Sage played his way into the Springbok Sevens team via the SA Rugby Sevens Academy system. The winger/fullback first got noticed starring for the Ikeys Tigers in the FNB Varsity Cup, which led to an invite to trial with the SARU Sevens Academy side in Stellenbosch.
Sage made his debut at the HSBC Cape Town Sevens in 2015 and quickly established himself in the squad. He can easily adapt playing in the forwards or backs and was named as a forward for trip.
Physical: 1.82m & 93 kg, DOB: 11/06/1993, Lydenburg
Education: Lydenburg Primary, HTS Middelburg
Other Squads: Team SA Commonwealth Games 2014; Pumas (Coca-Cola Craven Week), Xerox Golden Lions (Under-19, Under-21, Vodacom Cup, Absa Currie Cup), Junior Springboks 2013, Springboks Sevens Elite Development squad.
Tournaments: 26 – debut Port Elizabeth 2013, 255 points (51 tries). Also CWG Glasgow 2014 (gold medal); Olympic Games 2016 (bronze medal)
Equally adapt in fifteens, Smith enjoyed a Currie Cup title won with the Xerox Golden Lions in 2015 and also captained the team in 2016. The former Junior Springboks player has been massive in the Springbok Sevens jersey, where his work-rate, strong defence and forceful running caught the eye. It was no surprise that Smith made the HSBC World Series Dream Team in the last two season as he had numerous strong performances for the team.
Physical: 1, 77m & 84kg, DOB: 17/01/1993, Nelspruit
Education: Nelspruit Primary, Nelspruit High School
Other Squads: Team SA Commonwealth Games 2014; Pumas Grant Khomo Under-16; Craven Week Under-18; DHL Western Province Under-19, DHL Western Province Currie Cup; SA Elite Player Development Sevens; Olympic Games 2016 (bronze medal)
Tournaments: 21, Debut – London 2013 (250 points, 50 tries)
Kok is another product of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy system. The World Player of the Year in 2015 suffered a setback in Dubai last year, injuring his knee and missing the rest of the series. He recovered well and was selected for the squad to the Olympic Games. He also played for DHL Western Province on the wing in 2016.
Kok is rated as the hardest player to train against by all his team mates.
Physical: 1.78m & 88 kg, DOB: 07/12/1992, Mthatha
Education: Maclear Primary, Dale College
Other squads: Border Craven Week, SA u18 High Performance, EP Kings Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup, Southern Kings
Tournaments: 4 – debut Hong Kong 2016, 30 points (six tries)
Soyizwapi has been knocking on the door for a while now. He played in the SA Rugby Sevens Academy team at a number of tournaments where he showed a natural feel for the game, an eye for a gap and good speed. “Shakes” as he is called by team mates, has played Super Rugby for the Southern Kings in 2013 and is earmarked to take over the impressive try-scoring duties from Seabelo Senatla.
Branco du Preez
Physical: 1.66m & 75kg, DOB: 08/05/1990, George
Education: Van der Hoven Primary & PW Botha College (George), Harmony Sports Academy, Virginia, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Pretoria
Other Squads: Team SA Commonwealth Games 2014; Griffons (Coca-Cola Craven Week, Under-19); TUT (FNB Varsity Cup), Blue Bulls (Under-19, Under-21), South Africa (Under-20)
Tournaments: 47 – Debut – Wellington (2009/10), 922 points (72 tries, 279 conversions).
Dynamite comes in small packages and Du Preez certainly provides just that with his explosive pace and lightning breaks. His value as a reliable goal-kicker has helped the team immensely in recent seasons and it is no surprise that Du Preez is amongst the top-scorers for conversions kicks of all players in Wellington.
Physical: 1.72m & 79kg, DOB: 28/04/1989, Grahamstown
Education: Mary Waters HS, Grahamstown
Other Squads: KZN, Sharks XV Vodacom Cup; Steval Pumas Currie Cup; SA President’s XV 2013. Olympic Games 2016 (bronze medal)
Tournaments: 15 – debut – Las Vegas 2014; 196 points (34 tries, 13 conversions)
Specman is one of the most elusive runners in the game today. He has a wicked step and great pace, a lethal combination on attack. No wonder the former Cell C Sharks player was such a sensation on the wing for Steval Pumas and he was duly named Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year in 2014.
Physical: 1.75m & 80kg, DOB: 01/10/1993, Cape Town
Education: Webner Primary, Tygerberg HS, Cape Town
Other Squads: Team SA Commonwealth Games 2014; DHL Western Province Schools Craven Week, Under-19, Under-21 and Absa Currie Cup; SA Under-20 JWC 2013 squad; Olympic Games 2016 (bronze medal)
Tournaments: 27; Debut – Wellington 2013; 594 points (66 tries, 132 conversions)
Geduld is one of the rising stars in the national game. Although of slender build, his deceptive pace and eye for a gap makes him a very difficult opponent. The young outside back also brings flair into the game. He also represented the Junior Springboks in the Junior World Championship in France in 2013 and was a stand-out for DHL Western Province in the domestic Absa Currie Cup competition before he turned his attention to become a full-time sevens professional.
Physical: 1.81m & 101kg, DOB: 04/05/1997, Cape Town
Education: Fairview Primary, Rondebosch Boys’ High School
Other Squads: DHL Western Province Craven Week, WP Under-19. SA Schools, Junior Springboks.
Tournaments: 0 (on debut)
Debutant Zain Davids will take another step in what promises to be an exciting career to follow. The 19-year old played for the SA Rugby Sevens Academy side in the Dubai Invitational Sevens in December last year in his first experience of this code and showed good aptitude for the shorter version of the game as well. Last year, Davids represented the Junior Springboks at World Rugby’s Junior World Cup in England and in 2015 played SA Schools after a strong show at the Coca Cola Craven Week in Stellenbosch. A very strong ball carrier, Davids could be one of the leading face of the next generation of South African sevens stars.
Physical: 1.78m & 80kg, DOB: 10/03/1993, Welkom
Education: Koppie Alleen Primary, Riebeeckstad High, Central University of Technology, Free State
Other Squads: Team SA Commonwealth Games 2014; Griffons Craven Week Schools, CUT Varsity Cup, Junior Springboks 2013, DHL Western Province, DHL Stormers; Olympic Games 2016 (bronze medal).
Tournaments: 31 – debut – Wellington 2013; 860 points (172 tries)
Senatla is one of the rising stars in South African rugby and joined the Springboks on their 2013 Castle Lager Outgoing Series to Europe, although he did not play any tests. He has already represented his country at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow and the Junior World Championships in France in 2013. A prolific try scorer with searing pace and great footwork, Senatla was leading try-scorer in the 2015/16 World Series and was named World Rugby’s Sevens Player of the Year for the 2016 season.
Physical: 1.92 & 90kg, DOB: 17 May 1991, Johannesburg
Education: Rynfield Primary, Brandwag HS, University of Johannesburg
Fast Facts: In his Currie Cup debut in 2013, Nel scored a try for the Xerox Golden Lions within the first five minutes he came onto the field (against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs).
Other squads: Steval Pumas (Under-19), Xerox Golden Lions (Vodacom Cup, Absa Currie Cup), FNB WITS Varsity Cup
Tournaments: 13 – debut Gold Coast; 125 points (25 tries)
Nel scored a hat-trick in his debut match for the Springbok Sevens against American Samoa at Gold Coast two years ago and did not look back since. He was impressive in last year’s series, but a broken collarbone sustained at the HSBC Paris Sevens robbed him of the chance to make the Olympic team.
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2016/17 Log (after three tournaments)
1. South Africa 63 2. Fiji 51 3. England 49 4. Scotland 44 5. New Zealand 39 6. Wales 30 7. France 28 8. Australia 25 9. Argentina 25 10. Kenya 25
Springbok Sevens tournament victories (24)
Wellington – 2002, 2017 Adelaide – 2008, 2009 Dubai- 2003, 2006, 2008, 2014, 2016 Singapore – 2004 London – 2005, 2011 Cardiff – 2003 Edinburgh – 2011 Glasgow 2013 Paris – 2006 Las Vegas – 2011, 2013, 2014 Tokyo 2013 George, 2008 Port Elizabeth 2013, 2014 Cape Town 2015
Fast Springbok Sevens Facts:
•There have been 162 Springboks Sevens players since the inception of the World Series in 1999 (excluding Sevens World Cups). Zane Davids is the latest after he took the field in Wellington.
•No less than 32 BlitzBoks have gone on to represent the Springboks, with Warren Whiteley, Cornal Hendricks, Seabelo Senatla* and Jamba Ulengo the most recent.
*Senatla did not play in any tests.
Team records (All time)
1. Cecil Afrika 1167 (47 tournaments)
2. Branco du Preez 951 (48 tournaments)
2. Fabian Juries, 925 points (44 tournaments)
4. Seabelo Senatla, 900 points (32 tournaments)
5. Mzwandile Stick, 855 points (37 tournaments)
Most tournament appearances
1. Frankie Horne 68
2. Kyle Brown 57
3. Chris Dry 55
4. Branco du Preez 48
5. Cecil Afrika 47
Most points scored in one match
Andries Fourie 31 (v Malaysia in Tokyo 2000, SA won 84-0)
Philip Burger 29 (v Mexico 2006, SA won 78-0)