3rd-placed Blitzbokke retain No.?1 position

2015-02-17 00:00

DESPITE finishing third at the Las Vegas Sevens in the early hours of ­yesterday morning, the Springbok Sevens side still lead the HSBC World Sevens Series standings after five rounds.

The Blitzbokke were trumped by eventual tournament winners Fiji in their cup semi-final clash in what was a tightly fought affair. The final score read 24-19, denying the South ­African’s the chance to win their third Las Vegas Sevens title.

New Zealand overcame tournament hosts USA 26-12 in the second cup semi-final to book a date with Fiji in the final.

The two Island teams went head to head in the final and it was Fiji who won the tournament, beating their ­rivals 35-19. Jerry Tuwai and Semi ­Kunatani both scored a brace of tries to deny New Zealand the top spot.

Meanwhile, South Africa took on the USA in the third and fourth ­playoff. Tries from Frankie Horne, Kwagga Smith, Rayno Benjamin and a brace from Cecil Afrika gave the Blitzbokke a comfortable 31-0 win.

Their third-place finish assured their top spot on the series standings with 93 points. New Zealand are breathing down their necks with 88 points. Although Fiji won the fifth tour of the series, they are still third on the series standings with 86 points.

Although they salvaged their series lead, Blitzbokke skipper Kyle Brown lamented his side’s errors in their semi-final clash.

“We were our own worst enemy against Fiji in the first half, but after half time we showed how we can play.

“When things don’t go your way in the semis I think it is important to come out and still give it your best so you can collect the maximum on offer in the third place playoff, which we did,” Brown said.

South Africa now head home for six-week break before the Hong Kong Sevens kicks off on March 27. With over a month to prepare, coach Neil Powell said he wouldn’t over work his charges.

“I think coming into these two tournaments, it was almost as if the guys were a bit fed up with rugby.

“Having a look at who we’re going to approach this camp going into Hong Kong, maybe we will work a ­little bit smarter and not keep the guys too long in camp,” Powell said.

“It’s just to get the energy levels up and make them hungry to play Sevens again.

“We’ll have a look at how we ­condition the guys — hopefully we can get our intensity and momentum back for the Hong Kong leg.”

The Blitzbokke had a weekend of mixed results. They started the ­tournament strongly, with wins over Portugal (19-0) and Japan (42-5) ­before drawing their final pool C clash with USA (19-19).

They picked up their performance in the cup quarter-finals, beating England 21-14 before going down to Fiji.

Seabelo Senatla was the third ­highest try scorer at the tournament with six tries to his name.

Blitzbokke results

Pool C

SA 19-0 Portugal

SA 42-5 Japan

SA 19-19 USA


SA 21-14 England

Semi final

SA 24-19 Fiji

Third/fourth playoff:

SA 31-0 USA

HSBC World Sevens Series standings

South Africa - 93 points

New Zealand - 88 points

Fiji - 86 points

Australia - 71 points

England - 68 points.

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