The Springbok Sevens finished a credible fourth place at the Gold Coast Sevens after suffering a 19-0 defeat against England in their playoff for third place on Sunday morning (SA time). South Africa earned 15 points for their efforts and they now are now fourth on the HSBC Sevens World Series log following the first of nine rounds. The top four teams on the overall log at the end of the season will gain automatic entry to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Fiji outplayed Samoa 31-24 in a thrilling Cup final to lead the standings. Neil Powell, the Springbok Sevens coach said afterwards he was not happy with the his team’s play on match day two, “We have no excuses. Against Samoa (in the semi-finals) we played a game of two halves. They dominated the first half and we played better in the second. Overall, we made too many mistakes on attack and defence and that cost us against Samoa and England.” In their first match on Sunday, South Africa edged tournament hosts Australia 12-10 in a closely fought Cup quarter-final.
However, Frankie Horne and his team were unable to repeat their winning performance against a strong Samoan outfit and England. Samoa triumphed 28-12 in their semi-final tussle to advance to the final against Pacific Island rivals Fiji, who earlier had got the better of England in their semi-final. On Saturday the Springbok Sevens were in free-scoring mode which saw them scoring 100 points in three pool matches.
However, on Sunday they were made to work extremely hard from the start of their match against Australia. James Stannard put the hosts in front with an unconverted try, while Kwagga Smith hit back for the Springboks after half-time. Skipper Horne then dotted his 55th World Series try in his 60th consecutive tournament to stretch their lead to 12-5.
Con Foley scored a dramatic try for the Aussies after the hooter, but the conversion was wide and South Africa were through to the semis. Samoa made a fast start and led 14-0 after two quick tries. Phillip Snyman and Seabelo Senatla hit back with a try each to cut the lead to 14-12. However it were the Samoans who finished strongly to score two more times to book their place in the Cup Final.
England stacked up 19 points in the first half and then managed to shut out South Africa after the break to claim third place. Round two of the World Series will take place on 5 and 6 December in Dubai and this will be followed by the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens a week later in Port Elizabeth.