Ricochet News

Blitzboks loom large ahead of Sevens Series regardless of Cape Town final defeat

By Marc Jacobson - Dec 12, 2016
Blitzboks loom large ahead of Sevens Series regardless of Cape Town final defeat

What appeared to be an anti-climax finish in the Cape Town Sevens at the Cape Town Stadium in Green Point over the weekend, an outstanding tournament appeared to have ticked all the boxes, besides the end-result for South Africa.

Weather-wise, Cape Town really showed off, with the tournament being held in a beautiful stadium with a crowd and atmosphere as electric and vibrant as they come; and with the Blitzboks really producing some telling results up until the final against England.

England managed to spoil the party when they beat the Blitzboks 19-17 in the Cup Final on Sunday night – and much so, by a mere conversion. Had Justin Geduld kicked the last conversion of the match when South Africa had the last say for the game or if England had miss-converted their last try minutes before – which also happened to be near the corner; the result could have seen a completely different outcome.

Inches were what it was all about on the day, as England converted their opportunities (literally), to mark the marginal difference between the two sides. Regardless of their last-gasp final loss, however, South Africa still narrowly top the HSBC Sevens Standings after the first two rounds held in Dubai and Cape Town respectively.

The Blitzboks were absolutely immense last week in Dubai after being unbeaten and winning the Cup Final 26-14 against Fiji. They seemed to have carried that same form over to Cape Town, but England managed to alleviate the Blitzboks’ strengths and eventually come out on top – ending South Africa’s 11-match winning streak. Luckily for England however, star-speedster, Seabelo Senatla, and Kyle Brown were ruled out of the final due to injuries.

After the first two tournaments, South Africa have won a total 11 out of 12 matches with an overall points’ difference of 266, while England, breathing down the Blitzboks’ necks as their current most threatening contention; have won a total of 10 out of 12 matches, with a total points’ difference of 97.

On the overall standings, South Africa still sits sternly on top with 41 points, with England marginally at second-place with 39 points. Fiji is placed third with 32 points, while New Zealand and Scotland are currently tied at fourth with 27 points apiece.

Heading into the December break, the Blitzboks and England certainly do look like the sides to beat, but keeping in mind that Fiji and New Zealand can never be written off with the Sevens’ schedule still far from over.

The next round will take place in Wellington, New Zealand, on Saturday, 28th January, where South Africa will be grouped-up with Fiji, Australia and Japan in Pool B.

Image: Blitzboks Captain, Philip Snyman, attempting to make a tackle on Waddleton from England in the Cup Final.