Sevens

JC Pretorius the hero as Blitzboks clinch memorable back-to-back Dubai titles

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JC Pretorius. (Photo by Christopher Pike/Getty Images)
JC Pretorius. (Photo by Christopher Pike/Getty Images)

The Blitzboks completed a memorable fortnight in Dubai by claiming back-to-back titles in the UAE, beating Australia 10-7 in a tense final of the second World Rugby Sevens Series tournament on Saturday.

JC Pretorius was South Africa's hero, intervening brilliantly with three minutes to go when he exploited his opponents' ever so slight apathy at a breakdown to affect the turnover.

He was the towering receiver from the resultant kick to touch and then hared into midfield, where he exploited some weak defending to score the match-clinching try.

It was a telling showcase of the Blitzboks' streetwise, risk-averse approach to the game as well as their innate ability to turn it on when the stakes are at their highest.

Indeed, they were on the back foot for most of the clash against an Australian side that was by far the most attractive outfit on show this weekend.

Things started well for Neil Powell's troops when Shilton van Wyk's run from a penalty provided the space and momentum for skipper Siviwe 'Shakes' Soyizwapi to power over in the left corner.

But that would be the last time the South Africans would enjoy productive possession as the Aussies steadily brought themselves into the game.

Their greater ambition was rewarded with a fine try for their try-scoring machine, Corey Toole.

The Australians continued to dominate possession and territory, but they struggled to puncture a resolute South African defence and their greater emphasis on a quick game meant they were always vulnerable against breakdown hounds like Pretorius and Zain Davids.

In fact, they still had an opportunity to nick the silverware at the death before their expansive style again led to a stray pass that gave the brave but clearly fatigued Blitzboks their escape.

No-one, however, could quibble that this team knows how to cope with the pressure points of finals rugby.  

Point Scorers:

Blitzboks

Tries: Shakes Soyizwapi, JC Pretorius

Australia

Try: Corey Toole

Conversion: Dietrich Roache

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