CAPE TOWN – Dylan Sage was the hero for the Blitzboks at the Canada Sevens on Sunday night after scoring a match-winning try in the dying moments to clinch a 24-19 quarter-final victory over Australia in Vancouver.
The Blitzboks will now take on Fiji in the Cup semi-final at 12.08am on Monday morning SA time.
Neil Powell’s team were down and out at halftime as a number of missed tackles and strong running from the Australians resulted in a 19-0 advantage at the break.
Ben O’Donnell, Lachlan Anderson and John Porch dotted down for the Aussies in the first half, and it looked like the injury-depleted Blitzboks were going to be knocked out of the Cup competition at the BC Stadium.
Losing Cecil Afrika for two minutes due to a yellow card for going offside made matters even tougher for captain Philip Snyman and his side.
But the South Africans showed their character in the second half, with Afrika returning to the pitch to send Siviwe ‘Shakes’ Soyizwapi over for a well-worked try in the left-hand corner to reduce the deficit to 19-5.
The former Southern Kings fullback got on to the score-sheet for a second time with a fine finish in the right-hand corner, and this time Branco du Preez slotted the difficult conversion to make it 19-12.
The Australians crumbled under the pressure as the Blitzboks swarmed forward, but Sage knocked-on just 10 metres from the Australian line.
Afrika, though, got the vital score soon after, and when Du Preez banged over the conversion, it was all square at 19-19.
There have been a few epic come backs in the history of Springbok Sevens. This one is right up there. 19-0 down at ht then a @Dylan_Sage11 try won it after the hooter. against @Aussie7s . Epic stuff. @CastleLagerSA @ASICS_ZA @FNBSA pic.twitter.com/utHSYpCnLe
With extra time on the cards, the Blitzboks won a breakdown penalty inside their own half, and from the resulting lineout, they carried the ball up until Snyman flung a long pass out to Sage, and this time the former WP schoolboy centre didn’t waste the opportunity.
Sage ran with purpose to within a few metres of the tryline when he smartly went to ground to avoid an Australian defender before getting up again to slam the ball down for the match-winning five-pointer.
In the other semi-final, Kenya will take on USA at 12.30am SA time on Monday morning, after the Americans stunned New Zealand 17-0, while the east Africans won 12-0 against England.