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Johannesburg – South Africa coach Paul Treu was delighted and relieved after his side won their first Sevens World Series tournament in two seasons on Sunday.
The Blitzbokke beat series leaders New Zealand 40-21 in the cup final on the third and final day of the USA Sevens in Las Vegas.
“I'm just so glad for the guys. They deserve this win because they work so hard during training,” Treu said.
Chris Dry, who secured a brace, Warren Whiteley and Branco du Preez all scored converted tries in an action-packed opening period as the South Africans romped to a 28-0 half-time lead over New Zealand.
Two more tries after the interval, scored by Du Preez and Stephan Dippenaar, stretched the total to 40 points.
The Kiwis hit back late in the second half, scoring three tries through Pat Lam, Tim Mikkelson and Gilles Kaka, but the Blitzboks held on to win the Las Vegas tournament for the second time in three years.
South Africa had earlier defeated Samoa 12-7 in extra time in their cup semi-final.
Cornal Hendricks scored a try to put the Blitzbokke ahead as early as the third minute, which was converted by Du Preez, but Tulolo Tulolo hit back for Samoa shortly before the half-time break.
Lolo Lui missed a penalty for the Samoans in second-half injury time, and with scores remaining level at 7-7, the match was extended to sudden death extra time.
Seabelo Senatla dived over a little more than a minute after the restart to secure the win.
“We set such a high standard for ourselves and we need to come out and perform like that every time,” said Blitzbokke veteran Paul Delport.
“This is huge for us. We put in so much effort back home – there are just no words to describe this winning feeling.”
South Africa climbed to second place in the overall standings, though they remained 23 points behind New Zealand, with four legs left in the series.
The next tournament, another three-day event, will be played in Hong Kong starting on March 22. – Sapa