Blitzbokke clinch Cape Town Sevens
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Blitzbokke you beauties! Cape Town Stadium was rocking on Sunday night after the Springbok Sevens won the Cape Town Sevens tournament.
The Blitzbokke produced their best performance of the competition to beat Argentina 29-14 in the Cup final to clinch their third consecutive World Sevens Series tournament title on South African soil after winning in Port Elizabeth in 2013 and 2014.
Coach Neil Powell and captain Kyle Brown were worried men following an inconsistent day one, where the Blitzbokke just scraped through to the Cup quarter-finals by beating England after losing to Kenya on Saturday.
But while they were still not firing on all cylinders in their 25-5 victory over Australia in the quarter-final on Sunday afternoon, they improved in getting the better of France 21-12 in the semi-final.
By the time the Cup final came along at 7.30pm, the Blitzbokke were buzzing. Suddenly those 50-50 passes that had led to knock-ons earlier in the tournament went to hand, there were clever attacking moves that caught Argentina off-guard, and the defence was rock-solid for most of the 20-minute title decider.
And the man who grabbed the attention was Stormers centre Juan de Jongh, who had battled a bit in his return to the Sevens set-up in Dubai last week after last playing the shortened format in 2008.
De Jongh was an incredible force on attack for the Sevens Boks in the final, jinking his way through and around the Argentine defence, and generating the go-forward that the South Africans needed.
His efforts provided the inspiration for the likes of Justin Geduld, Rosko Specman and Seabelo Senatla to thrive, which proved too hot for the Argentines to handle.
Specman got the ball rolling for the South Africans when he showed a clean pair of heels to the Los Pumas defence to get his team back into the game after Argentina took a 7-0 lead through German Schultz after a series of brilliant offloads in the tackle.
Geduld then got in on the act, pulling off a perfectly-weighted chip for Senatla to chase, and the Western Province flyer won the race to put the Blitzbokke ahead for the first time.
Specman got his second soon after, following a ghosting run by Geduld and a well-timed offload by Brown.
But the Argentines didn’t give up, with Axel Muller dotting down just before halftime, although the final pass looked like it went forward, with Scottish referee Mike Adamson waving play on.
Brown and Chris Dry were powerful figures on defence throughout, and they kept out some dangerous Argentine surges into the South African 22. Substitute Franco Sabato went on one rampaging run down the right flank, swatting Blitzbokke tacklers away as he stormed forward, but the South Africans won a breakdown penalty to get out of their half.
With less than a minute to go and the crowd cheering a Blitzbok triumph already, local hero Cheslin Kolbe finished things off in style. Kolbe got the ball just outside his 22, then dummied one way and went the other as he cut the Argentine defence apart. Kolbe raced to within five metres of the tryline, and offloaded brilliantly to Rayno Benjamin to score a breathtaking touchdown.
Springbok Sevens – Tries: Rosko Specman (2), Seabelo Senatla (2), Rayno Benjamin. Conversions: Justin Geduld (2).
Argentina – Tries: German Schultz, Axel Muller. Conversions: Bautista Ezcurra (2).