The Springbok Sevens team on Sunday suffered a narrow 19-17 loss to England in the final of the HSBC Cape Town Sevens, but are still top of the log following the opening two tournaments in the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. The tournament resumes in late January when New Zealand hosts the third tournament of the series in Wellington.
England toppled the Springbok Sevens and secured a first-ever tournament win in South Africa by using their opportunities on attack better and putting pressure on the Blitzboks with their defence.
South Africa had to start the match without injured stars Seabelo Senatla and Kyle Brown and lacked the rhythm they had had earlier in the day.
Both sides scored three tries, but an additional successful conversion by England proved the difference.
Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, said afterwards it would be harsh to judge the performance of his team on the result against England.
“We played well in Dubai and made the final in Cape Town, although we’re very disappointed that we could not win this for the wonderful local supporters, we have won 11 of our 12 matches in the last two weeks and that is something we are proud of and pleased about. We did not play well enough in the final though and England managed to close our space down.”
This was echoed by captain, Philip Snyman.“I am really proud of the guys. Obviously the result in the final was a dampener, but we did some good things as well and will be going into a break now knowing that a lot of our structures are working well.”
Powell’s team qualified for their second successive HSBC Cape Town Sevens Cup Final after two impressive victories in their play-off matches on Sunday.
The South Africans beat Wales 33-0 in the quarter-finals, outscoring the Welsh by five tries to nil, but it was their rock-solid defence that set the tone for this victory, their 41st in 42 clashes on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Playing off scraps for most of the first half, the Blitzboks made their opportunities count as Seabelo Senatla, Cecil Afrika and Chris Dry crossed for tries before the break, with South Africa taking a 19-0 lead into the second half.
Ruhan Nel’s try, after a sublime run by Werner Kok, made it 26-0 to the hosts and defending champions, before Rosko Specman put the final nail in the Welsh coffin when he outsprinted the defence from 60m to score in the corner.
Justin Geduld continued the Blitzboks’ fine kicking record with a touchline conversion as the game ended 33-0.
Later on Sunday afternoon, in front of a packed stadium, the Blitzboks scored two tries to one against New Zealand to beat the Kiwis by 14-7 in the first semi-final.
Branco du Preez and Rosko Specman scored on either side of half-time, with Du Preez and Cecil Afrika adding the conversions.
In the second semi-final, England beat Scotland, 33-14, to set up a mouth-watering final against the South Africans.
Earlier, New Zealand had beaten Kenya, 28-7, to set up the semi-final between two of the most successful teams in the history of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Both other quarter-finals were only decided in extra time as the scores were tied after 14 minutes. Scotland went through to the semis courtesy of a 24-19 win over the USA, while England shocked Fiji 31-26 in the final quarter-final.
Stats and facts of the HSBC Cape Town Sevens
- Terry Bouhraoua of France (76 points) was the top points scorer in the tournament. The leading South African was Werner Kok (25 points).
- Three South Africans were included in the Dream Team. Chris Dry, Philip Snyman and Werner Kok made the team selected by commentators at the conclusion of the tournament.
- South Africa have won 26 of their last 30 matches played in the series. Fiji (22) and England (21) are the next best teams in this regard.
The top five teams on the standings are:
- South Africa 41
- England 39
- Fiji 32
- Scotland 27
- New Zealand 27