Blitzbok run comes to an end
South Africa’s Sevens golden run came to an end in Vancouver in the early hours of Monday morning (CAT) as they went down 19-7 to England in the final of the Canada Sevens tournament in Vancouver.
The Blitzboks run of three consecutive tournament trophies, four titles and six consecutive finals in this year’s HSBC World Series keeps them with a healthy overall series lead, but they were just not good enough to take another title in Vancouver.
In the end England won their second title – adding to their Cape Town win over the Blitzboks - and are still the only team to have beaten Neil Powell’s side this year. England have won three out of the four contests between the two sides, with South Africa victorious in Wellington.
Without a number of players due to injury, and losing Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga Smith to 15s rugby, the Blitzboks' effort was valiant in the face of adversity and the resolve in the team took them to the final.
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Werner Kok performed a miraculous try-saving tackle in the final moment of the semifinal to stop the USA from scoring and put the Blitzboks into the final, but it was clear that England were on another level – especially after their 40-7 demolition of Fiji in the semis.
South Africa had lost Justin Geduld and Stephan Dippenaar before the start of the tournament and then also lost Branco du Preez, who injured a pectoral muscle in the tournament. Their playmaker Rosco Speckman also left the field in the final with a leg injury.
Siviwe Soyizwapi scored first in the final, but then it wasn’t enough as Dan Norton levelled matters before halftime and Dan Bibby grubbered ahead cleverly to take the lead for the English in the second half.
Richard de Carpentier gave England the win with a late try and the Blitzboks couldn’t force their way back into matters.
The Blitzboks are now 23 points ahead of England in the World Series, and 26 points over current World Series and Olympic champions Fiji with four tournaments remaining in the series.