The Blitzboks ensured a remarkable double for South African rugby over England this weekend when they successfully defended their Paris Sevens title on Sunday night, a victory over England that also meant Neil Powell’s team have retained their World Sevens Series title.
All glory to a Blitzboks side that played poorly on day one of this tournament and again in the quarter-final against Spain – they squeaked home with a sudden death try in extra time – but they saved their best for when it really mattered.
In pouring rain in the final, England had little answer when the Boks produced a world class performance from a world champion team. This 2017/2018 world title will mean that much more to the Blitzboks, given that they it was only secured in the last match of the last tournament in the 10-leg series.
And they had to do it without three of their best players, the vastly experienced Cecil Afrika, Branco du Preez and Seabelo Senatla, all injured.
This final was about 24 hours after the remarkable first Test between England and South Africa in Johannesburg, and it was a sensational win over England once more.
The door to the Blitzboks retaining their world title was opened early on Sunday morning when, in the first quarter-final, log leaders and favourites Fiji lost to the same England team that contested the final.
The South Africans would ultimately make the Pacific Islanders pay dearly for that loss.
The Blitzboks began the final emphatically when one of the seniors, Werner Kok, rose to the occasion and powered past four defenders for the opening score.
The England reply was immediate, with winger Dan Norton sprinting half the length of the field before passing inside to Oliver Lindsay-Hague for the try, and a minute later, Norton himself scored after a similar turn of pace.
The Blitzboks bravely fought back and scored through Ryan Oosthuizen after the hooter had gone for halftime, and the touchline conversion made it 14-14 at the break.
Neil Powell’s team struck first in the second half through the elusive Dewald Human, who took a gap in the defence and had the legs to outsprint the defence.
This is an epic final. South Africa lead 21-14 with under 4 minutes to go! If they win, they win the world series.— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) June 10, 2018
TV: https://t.co/6Z1gHYc5eh pic.twitter.com/FxCUhh3J1s
The Boks extended their lead shortly after when they unusually took a shot at goal, Justin Geduld slotting the drop through the uprights for a 24-14 lead, and that would prove to be literally the final score.@MikeGreenaway67