Phew! The Blitzboks are normally a smooth sailing machine, but they needed to go all the way to extra time to end the Spanish resistance at the Paris Sevens on Sunday and keep alive their World Sevens Series title hopes.
Justin Geduld was the hero for the South Africans as he forced his way through a half-gap to dot down for a ‘golden score’ in extra time after the teams were locked at 10-10 at fulltime.
The Blitzboks will face New Zealand in the Cup semi-finals at 2.25pm SA time.
Neil Powell’s team were given a lifeline in the title race after Fiji were beaten by England 19-17 in the Cup quarter-finals, which means that the South Africans need to win the Paris tournament to defend their series trophy.
But they nearly blew it against the tough-tackling Spaniards at the Stade Jean Bouin. After Dewald Human gave the Blitzboks a 5-0 lead, the European outfit hit back with a touchdown from Pol Pla, who showed some smart stepping skills to wrong-foot the defence just before halftime.
One of the stars of the season, Dylan Sage, again produced the goods when it mattered most as he got the ball on to the line just before being tackled into touch, and it looked like the Blitzboks had done enough to advance to the Cup semi-finals.
But Manuel Sainz-Trapaga ensured that there would be more drama to follow as he took advantage of Human’s fumble near the tryline to level the scores at 10-10 in the final move of regulation time.
Fortunately the conversion was missed, as a Spanish victory would’ve handed the series title to Fiji.
In a tense extra time, both teams battled to break through the respective defences before a few powerful surges in the lead-up by Zain Davids eventually saw Geduld go over.
Blitzboks 15 – Tries: Dewald Human, Dylan Sage, Justin Geduld.
Spain 10 – Tries: Pol Pla, Manuel Sainz-Trapaga.
Paris Sevens Cup semi-finals
2.03pm: England v Canada
2.25pm: Blitzboks v New Zealand