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Note to editors: An audio file with comments from SA Select Women’s Sevens coach, Renfred Dazel, is available for download here. Also attached is a picture of the team with the Hong Kong Women’s Sevens Invitational Cup.

The SA Select Women’s Sevens team scored a historic 14-7 win over France in the final of the Hong Kong Women’s Sevens Invitational Cup in the Hong Kong Stadium on Friday. The Cup final win is a first ever a South African team at the famous venue, something coach Renfred Dazel was very pleased about.

“This was a very important and significant win for us. It is the first time that a South African team has won any title here and hopefully this is a good omen for the men come Sunday,” Dazel said.

He added: “I joked to Neil Powell (Springbok Sevens coach) that we have now warmed the pitch for them, so I hope they do well.”Dazel praised his players for the great effort, which saw them winning matches against France and Japan earlier on Friday.

“I told the girls they have achieved what no other SA team could do and that they can really be proud of themselves. This is also an important win for a lot of people at SA Rugby, as they work very hard behind the scenes to prepare the team. I am sure this victory will also lift the confidence and the profile of our team,” explains Dazel.

He was particularly impressed by the fightback shown by his charges following their defeat against Kazakhstan in pool play on Thursday.

“The girls were gutted after that loss, but look how they have responded, beating France twice and also Japan earlier today.”

Dazel included four new players for this tournament and he feels their energy had the desired effect.

“I am happy with their effort, they slotted in very well and definitely brought a nice vibe and energy to the team. Nadine Roos chased hard, ran all day long and really played well. Hopefully they will learn a lot from this tournament. We can still improve as there are more things we can improve and work on,” according to Dazel.

The next assignment for the team will be in three weeks in France and then the Roma Sevens in June, where Dazel plans to rope in more new players.

•In the final, played at the Hong Kong Stadium, South Africa held a 14-0 lead at the break. Tries by Zenay Jordaan and Marithy Pienaar, both converted by Jordaan, provided the needed buffer as France came back late with a converted try.

The South Africans stood firm in the final minutes to secure a famous win.

Earlier, South Africa qualified for the final with a gutsy 19-10 win over Japan in the semi-final after leading 14-0 at the break.

Japan opened the match with a sustained attack, but the South Africans’ one-on-one tackles proved decisive.

They took the lead after five minutes when Marithy Pienaar crashed over following good ball control in the build-up. Zenay Jordaan converted.

Some clever play on the counter-attack resulted in their second try a minute later by team captain, Lorinda Brown. Mathrin Simmers attacked from deep in her own half and after some interplay by Pienaar, Brown ran 60 meters to score under the posts. Jordaan’s conversion took the halftime score to 14-0.

The second half saw a lapse in discipline and defense.

South Africa lost a player with a yellow card and Japan scored two tries in two minutes to claw back to 14-10. Clever play by Jordaan from the restart managed to put Roos in space and the try confirmed the 19-10 win.

The South Africans showed good commitment in their final pool A match, played at the Hong Kong Jockey Club by defeating France 7-5 early on Friday.

The French came into the match unbeaten and enjoyed territorial and ball possession in the opening minutes. The South African defence stood firm, but was penalised a couple of times at the breakdown, resulting in France scoring in the corner after five minutes.

They took that lead into the break.

A moment of brilliance by winger Nadine Roos proved to be the match-clincher. The Tukkies student stepped around her opponent and chipped ahead where Marithy Pienaar collected and raced in from 40 meters out. Zenay Jordaan converted.

Great defence then kept the French out and resulted in South Africa finishing second in pool A.

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