South Africa thrash Australia and New Zealand to win the Dubai Rugby Sevens
Blitzbokke stars get back to winning ways in the HSBC Sevens World Series off the back of a strong defensive performance
South Africa 7s claimed their first title of the 2014-15 HSBC Sevens World Series with a thumping 33-7 win over Australia in Dubai.
After a similarly convincing 28-0 win over world champions New Zealand in the semi-finals, the Blitzbokke turned up the heat again in the Cup Final, outscoring Australia by five tries to one, with Seabelo Senatla grabbing a brace.
Kwagga Smith, who scored a hat-trick in the semi-finals, also crossed after Australia’s Pama Fou was sin-binned for a tip tackle.
Fou was fortunate not to be red carded and he had the score level before the break when he returned.
But that would be the only joy Australia would have in the final, as the Blitzbokke upped their game, led by another powerful defensive display, which had rattled and shut out New Zealand in their semi-final.
Philip Snyman scored from a turnover in front of Australia’s posts before a heroic defensive display from Smith prevented Sam Myers going over to get Australia back into the contest.
Senatla then produced the speed he is famed for with two quick efforts to give South Africa a comfortable lead before Ruhan Nel added a fifth try to wrap up a good day’s work.
“There’s a lot of open space on a sevens pitch and if you can get your speedsters into those open spaces, they can do something for you,” said Blitzbokke head coach Neil Powell.
“We’re not the biggest team on the circuit but the guys are really physical. I’m really proud of their defensive effort today.”
Their outstanding efforts on day two in Dubai to win in the Emirate for the first time since 2008 gives South Africa the perfect fillip ahead of the next round, which they host in Port Elizabeth next weekend, as they climb into second place in the World Series standing, two points off leaders Fiji, who have 39 points.
There’s a lot of open space on a sevens pitch and if you can get your speedsters into those open spaces, they can do something for you
The Fijians had led 19-0 against Australia in their semi-final, before eventually losing 29-24 in extra time, but Ben Ryan’s speedsters salvaged some pride by beating the out-of-sorts world champions New Zealand 26-12 to claim third place.
Scotland thrashed Wales 31-7 in the first Plate semi-final, with former captain Colin Gregor running in two tries, but they fell short in the Plate final as they lost 26-12 to Argentina, who had earlier stunned England with a 21-19 win in the semi-finals.
Mark Robertson, Scotland’s player of the weekend, had them in front in the Plate Final after a clever cross-field kick from Gregor, and captain Scott Wight put Calum MacRae’s men 12-0 up before Los Pumas hit back just before half-time through Patricio Fernández.
A brace from Segundo Tuculet extended the South Americans’ lead to 21-12 before Alex Muller, who was the Most Valuable Player at September’s Safaricom7s event in Kenya, added a fourth try on the final hooter.
The Bowl Final saw Samoa come from 14-0 down to defeat France 31-21 in another entertaining game as Reupena Levasa and Tom Iosefo brought the score to 14-14 before France added a third try just before the break, but three tries and a defensive shutout were enough for the Pacific Islanders.
After another tough weekend, which saw Sean Duke become Canada’s all-time leading points-scorer, Liam Middleton’s men defeated Kenya 19-12 in the Shield final with a brace from Justin Douglas.
The third round of the HSBC Sevens World Series will take place on 13-14 December at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.