The Springbok Sevens are the 2014 Dubai Sevens champions after a brilliant display against Australia in the Cup Final on Saturday, which they won 33-7 to climb to second spot on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series league table. After clinching fourth place at the Gold Coast in October, the Blitzbokke are now just two points behind Fiji who leads the standings on 39 points. The teams now head to South Africa for Round 3 of the World Series next weekend at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
South Africa are the defending Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens champions. The Springbok Sevens conceded a paltry seven points on match day two while collecting 101 points against Argentina, Series champions New Zealand and a resurgent Australia. Earlier on Saturday the Blitzbokke thumped Argentina 40-0 in their quarter-final clash.
Later they were in outstanding form against traditional rivals New Zealand in the semi-finals, scoring four converted tries without conceding a point (28-0) to secure their spot in the final against the impressive Aussies who defeated Fiji in a thrilling semi-final that went into extra-time. Afterwards, both the Springbok Sevens coach and captain praised the defensive efforts of the team, which paved the way for a commanding title victory in the famous desert city.
Kyle Brown, who made his comeback in Dubai after missing the Gold Coast because of a shoulder injury, said his team put in a much improved performance on match day two, “We knew we did not play our best rugby in the Gold Coast and probably not even yesterday (Friday), but we got the ball rolling, which was important. I think our defensive efforts were simply outstanding and it’s great to play in such a committed team.” Neil Powell, who led the South Africans to Commonwealth Games gold in July, was equally pleased, “We tried to play with variation and the guys really bought into the plan. The players deserve the credit for an outstanding display. We are not the biggest team on the circuit, but we are very physical and don’t stand back for any team in the tackle. Our form at the breakdown area was very good and we really took our scoring opportunities well.”
South Africa turned on their full attacking power in the second to score four tries after Australia restricted them to just seven points in the first half (7-7). Kwagga Smith scored in opening stanza while Philip Snyman, Seabelo Senatla (2) and Ruhan Nel added three tries after the restart. They started their quest for a Cup final place with a comprehensive 40-0 demolition job of Argentina.
Speedster Senatla scored a hat-trick while there were also tries by Cecil Afrika and debutant Warrick Gelant. Livewire Smith also scored a first half hat-trick in the Blitzbokke’s 28-0 semi-final win over traditional rivals New Zealand. They led 21-0 at half-time.
The South Africans suffocated NZ with first time hits and then recycled their turnover possession with speed and accuracy. Afrika sealed a thoroughly deserved victory after a lightning break from substitute Cheslin Kolbe. The 16 teams now fly to South Africa for Round 3 of the World Series in Port Elizabeth, the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens.