Ricochet News

Blitzboks reign as Trans-Tasman champions after winning Sydney Sevens

By Marc Jacobson - Feb 6, 2017
Blitzboks reign as Trans-Tasman champions after winning Sydney Sevens

Reigning in the Trans-Tasman region, the Blitzboks have now won back-to-back Sevens Cup Titles in Wellington (New Zealand) two weekends ago and now Sydney (Australia) this past weekend, to cement themselves firmly at the top of the HSBC Sevens Standings.

Way superior above the rest in the 2016/17 HSBC Sevens Series so far, South Africa have now won three of the tournaments, while the other – ironically being edged out by two points on home soil in the Cape Town Sevens to England.

It was England, this time round in Sydney that the Blitzboks met on two occasions – once in their Pool A clash and the other in the penultimate Cup Final. England, just like in the Cape Town final, managed to do their off-field homework and close the Blitzboks off enough to topple them 21-15 in the Pool A decider.

Now seeming to be a looming bogey for South African Sevens, the Blitzboks were to meet England again in the Cup Final, which the men in green and gold assured right up until half-time that they wouldn’t let this one slide through their fingers as they took a 19-0 lead.

Just under a minute into the second half, the Blitzboks scored another try – stretching the scores to 24-0, almost nailing the coffin in for the English. Through a sloppy retreat, England then shot back for two quick tries in tandem with a constellation from South Africa, meaning the match concluded at five tries to two, with a comfortable 15-point victory for the Blitzboks.

It may suggest that vengeance is sweet, but regardless, loss or defeat, South Africa have by far been the most consistent and superior side throughout this campaign so far and had much-deserved their reaping silverware.

The Sydney Sevens proved to be slightly more challenging than that of Wellington after scoring 23 tries and conceding 10; as opposed to 28 – 4 in New Zealand; as well as succumbing to a defeat after being undefeated the week before. A Cup Title is nonetheless a Cup Title and it adds the same Sevens Standings Points to the total point tally.

After all, once a team marks themselves as threats, they become a much-anticipated target for any opposition that crosses their path. Where South Africa can improve however, is their conversation-taking, where in Sydney they only succeeded 11 out of 23 conversions through Branco du Preez, which overall deteriorates their score projection.

Seabelo Senatla was once again exceptional, scoring nine of South Africa’s 23 tries and being nominated in the HSBC Sevens Team of the Week. Fellow South Africans, Kwagga Smith and Justin Geduld were also nominated in the Team of the Week mix.

The Blitzboks are firmly placed on top of the HSBC Sevens Standings with 85 points, with runners-up England a whole 17 points behind on 68 points. Fiji are third with 64 points and New Zealand fourth with 56 points.

Image: Blitzboks celebrating their CupTitle trophy celebration after beating England 29-14.