Cecil Afrika

HONG KONG - The Blitzboks are one game away from landing their first Hong Kong Sevens title after beating the United States 29-24 after extra time on Sunday.

With the South Africans looking comfortable at 19-7 ahead at halftime, the American Eagles bounced back to square things up at 24-24 after the hooter had sounded.

Still, had Madison Hughes landed the conversion, the Blitzboks’ Hong Kong hoodoo would have continued.

Thankfully for Neil Powell’s men, the conversion drifted wide and the match went into sudden-death play.

And there was no bigger smile in the stadium as Ruhan Nel dived over in spectacular fashion after good work from Cecil Afrika.

The Blitzboks had led at the break after going down 0-7 to an early try by Hughes. They equalled through Siviwe Soyizwapi after a break down the left from Afrika.

Big Dylan Sage used his bulk to barge over under the posts and skipper Phillip Snyman then used a neat step to go over to the right of the uprights to secure a 12-point gap.

They stretched that lead to 17 with Soyizwapi’s second try, but the Eagles clawed their way back into contention with three quick tries – first Martin Iosefa dotted down and a brace by speedster Perry Baker brought things all square.

The Blitzboks’ hearts were in the mouths, but skipper Hughes’ missed conversion saw their dream stay alive.

Now they face Fiji in the final, set to kickoff at 1pm South African time.