Blitsbokke aim to improve in home soil

2011-12-05 00:00

LEWIS Holland scored a try with the last movement of the match to help Australia beat South Africa 17-14 in the Plate Final at the Dubai Sevens on Saturday.

South Africa led 14-5 at the break after Chris Dry and Branco du Preez had scored a try each and Holland touched down for Australia for his first of two tries.

Hamish Angus then narrowed the score to 14-10 after he scored just after play resumed in the second half.

Just when it looked like South Africa had done enough to win the Plate, Holland won possession and ran almost the full length of the pitch to score the decisive try to condemn the Blitsbokke to their second defeat of the day.

Earlier Australia had beaten defending Series champions New Zealand 26-12 in their semi-final, inflicting a third successive defeat for the first time in Sevens history on Gordon Tietjens’ team.

The Springbok Sevens managed to gain 12 points for the efforts in Dubai and in doing so stay in touch with the Sevens World Series log leaders. They now have 29 points from two tournaments which place them and New Zealand joint second on the log behind Fiji on 39.

South Africa, who scored a comprehensive victory over New Zealand in their last Pool B match last night, lost their quarter-final match 19-7 against a resurgent French team who hardly allowed the Blitzbokke to get any movement going. Terry Bouhraou, Manoel Dall Igna and Renaud Delmas scored for France before Bernado Botha scored a consolation try for the Blitsbokke.

South Africa played much better against Wales and deservedly won 22-7 to book their place in the consolation Plate Final. Branco du Preez, William Small-Smith, Robert Ebersohn and Renfred Dazel each got onto the score sheet before Owen B Williams replied with Wales’ only effort just before the final whistle.

Paul Treu, the SA Sevens coach, said he was disappointed with his teams’ below par performances.

“It was disappointing for us that we did not play to our full potential. We gained some valuable points which allowed us to stay in touch with the front group on the log and we will now regroup and focus our efforts on doing well in our home tournament next week in Nelson Mandela Bay,” said Treu.

He confirmed that Robert Ebersohn will return to Super Rugby pre-season duties with the Toyota Cheetahs and will be replaced by Cornal Hendricks. The injured Cecil Afrika should return to full fitness and be available for selection.

The 16 teams arrive tomorrow evening in Port Elizabeth on two flights via Johannesburg for the first SA Sevens tournament to be staged in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

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