Springbok sevens to replace two injured players after winning Plate Final

2011-03-28 00:00

SPRINGBOK Sevens coach Paul Treu has made two injury-forced changes to his squad for the next HSBC Sevens World Series tournament in Adelaide.

South Africa won the Plate Final in Hong Kong after suffering a heartbreaking and somewhat controversial defeat in extra-time against Fiji yesterday morning.

Paul Jordaan and Bernard Botha both suffered leg injuries on the second day and played no further part in tournament, reducing the South Africans to 10 players and forcing Treu to field almost the same line-up for the remaining matches.

The pair flew straight home and MJ Mentz and Pieter Engelbrecht flew out yesterday evening to Australia join the team in Adelaide.

South Africa won the Plate and collected 16 Series points after beating Australia 26-19 in a pulsating final. Hamish Angus scored twice for Michael O’Connor’s Australia, but two from Sibusiso Sithole and one each from Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez clinched the victory for the 2011 USA Sevens Cup winners.

However, South Africa will be wondering what might have been had the referee spotted a knock-on in extra-time of their thrilling Cup quarter-final against Fiji. With the scores locked at 19-all, a Fijian was tackled and appeared to have lost the ball forward, only for the referee to wave play on. They scored from the resulting move to deliver a cruel knockout blow to the gutsy South Africans.

Earlier, the Springbok Sevens beat Portugal 28-5 to reach the Plate final with Chris Dry, captain Kyle Brown, Afrika and Neil Powell all scoring for Paul Treu’s side. Australia reached the final after a 32-12 against Russia in the second semi-final.

Treu was afterwards full of praise for the huge effort from his players: “I could not have asked for more from them. They gave it everything they got and we were very unfortunate against Fiji. The injuries to Paul and Bernardo meant we were down to 10 players and as a result the guys just had to shoulder on, which they did in splendid fashion.

“We will have a lot of sore bodies during the next couple of days and we will therefore have to take it somewhat easy during the week in Adelaide,” said Treu.

New Zealand beat closest rivals England 29-17 to win the coveted Hong Kong Sevens title and take a five-point lead in the World Series race. After the first five events in the World Series, New Zealand now lead with 110 points, five clear of England on 105. Fiji and Samoa lie joint-third on 84 with Plate winners South Africa on 72.

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