Johannesburg – Coach Paul Treu was left disappointed after South Africa secured the bronze medal in the third leg of the Sevens World Series in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
The hosts, who have not won a cup title since November 2011, romped to a 35-0 win over Argentina in the playoffs, with Cheslin Kolbe scoring a hat-trick of tries to lead the South Africans to victory.
The Blitzboks, who had gone unbeaten in the pool stages, coasted past the United States in the quarterfinals, scoring three tries to one as they strode to a 17-7 victory.
And while they took a 5-0 lead over New Zealand at half-time in their semi-final clash, the hosts went down 12-5 as they were relegated to the third-place playoff.
“It was very disappointing,” Treu said.
“We had our chances and so did they, with the only difference that New Zealand took the one that mattered.
“I cannot fault the commitment of my players. They gave their all.
“It is a pity we could not do it for the crowd who supported us so well.
“At least we finished strongly and gave a good performance in the bronze final.”
Meanwhile, New Zealand crushed France 47-12 in the final to win their first cup title of the season.
Wales beat Fiji 26-14 to win the plate final, Australia defeated Samoa by the same scoreline to secure the bowl title, and Spain thumped Zimbabwe 33-0 to win the shield final.
The fourth leg of the series will be held in Wellington, New Zealand, in February. – Sapa