Blitsbokke win ‘a tribute to Mandela’

2013-12-09 00:00

PORT ELIZABETH — South Africa beat New Zealand 17-14 to win the third tournament of the IRB Sevens World Series in Port Elizabeth yesterday, a timely tribute to Nelson Mandela.

A try from skipper Kyle Brown three minutes from the whistle was enough to seal a hard-fought victory over the Kiwis in the Eastern Cape stadium named after Mandela.

“It has been an emotional few days and I was hoping we could put a smile on everyone’s faces after a tough few days,” said the Blitsbokke captain.

“This crowd has been unbelievable all weekend.

“The guys’ performance has filled so many seats.

“The composure from the guys was brilliant too.”

Scott Curry bundled over the line to open the scoring for New Zealand, who doubled their lead when Sherwin Stowers steamed past Bok playmaker Cecil Afrika. Tomasi Cama converted both tries.

The home side mounted some pressure, however, and reward came when Branco du Preez broke through.

Du Preez got his second minutes later to leave the scores at 14-12 at half-time.

South Africa exerted a lot more pressure in the second period and it eventually told when Brown won a lineout, spun out of a weak tackle and broke free to cross for the decisive score.

“If we were close at half-time, I knew we could do it,” said Blitsbokke coach Neil Powell, who had seen his side dispatch Portugal (45-0) and Argentina (31-0) in the quarter and semi-finals.

“Credit to the boys who carried the team through in the last 10 minutes.

“It’s been an emotional weekend and the guys are really feeding off the atmosphere inside the stadium.

“It is a privilege to play here this weekend.”

Samoa beat Argentina 21-7 for third place, while Fiji claimed the plate final with a 45-19 victory over France.

England won the bowl, beating Australia 28-19 and Scotland claimed the Shield, 19-12 victors over Canada.

The Series moves on the United States, with Las Vegas hosting the next event from January 24 to 26, 2014.

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