Blitzboks continue to make headway in HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series

 

Despite going down 19–7 to a spirited English outfit in the final of the HSBC Canada Sevens in Vancouver on 13 March, the Blitzbokke maintained their firm grip on the overall series standings.

It was the Blitzbok’s sixth consecutive final of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, having started the second installment of the North American leg in the series, 24 points ahead of Fiji (current series champions) in second place. Following their astonishing victory, England have now moved to second place on the overall log, displacing Fiji in the process.

At the start of the tournament, Neil Powell’s troops were without the services of Justin Geduld and Stephan Dippenaar. A pectoral muscle injury to Branco du Preez, early on Sunday and an unwelcome leg injury to the influential winger, Rosko Specman during the final meant that the Bok Sevens had it all to play for. However, despite the setbacks, Specman and forward, Chris Dry were named in the Vancouver Dream Team.

Read: Blitzboks aim for solid start in Las Vegas

The final saw the Blitzboks take the lead early through a try by Siviwe Soyizwapi, subsequently spilling a couple of crucial chances to put England away. The English, who had put one over the Blitzboks in Cape Town Sevens final in December, scored just before the break to level matters, following that with two more tries in the second half to secure a second tournament title of the series.

A brilliant try-saving tackle by Werner Kok earlier in the day secured the Blitzboks their sixth straight final berth. The Bok Sevens beat USA 14–10 in an epic semi-final, with the result only determined in the dying seconds of the encounter. Kok held up an opponent who looked set to score the winning try. Tries by Philip Snyman and Specman, both brilliantly converted by Cecil Afrika, proved to be crucial in deciding matters.

Top five teams on overall series standings after six tournaments are:

1. South Africa 126

2. England 103

3. Fiji 100

4. New Zealand 84

5. USA 67.

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