It was the Seabelo Senatla Show as he proved once again that he is so much more than a try-scoring machine to propel the Blitzboks into the Dubai Sevens final on Saturday with a 12-7 win over fierce rivals Fiji.
Senatla did get his customary touchdown, but it was his relentless work on defence that stood out against the hard-running Fijians.
However, the Stormers flyer’s attacking prowess wasn’t far behind either. He got the ball rolling for the South Africans with a thrilling break early on, which led to the first try by Cecil Afrika, who smartly dived over from a ruck near the tryline.
Senatla nearly created another try soon afterwards when he put in a perfect chip into the Fijian 22 that Werner Kok caught out of the air, but after brief contact from a Fijian defender, the referee ruled that he had been brought to ground and needed to release the ball, which he didn’t.
In between, Neil Powell’s team kept the island side at bay with a well-organised defence, with some big hits from Chris Dry and Werner Kok, despite the best attempts of Jerry Tuwai and Vatemo Ravouvou to pierce the Blitzbok front-line.
There was enough time before the break, though, for Senatla to weave his magic again.
He dominated the contact point to claim the turnover at the breakdown, and quickly realised that there was no one in front of him and jogged away to score, with the Blitzboks leading 12-0 at halftime.
The Fijians appeared to wake up only three minutes before the end, but they couldn’t get the better of that man Senatla, who hunted down Tuwai from behind in one passage of play, and also forced a Fijian knock-on at a ruck.
Tuwai eventually got his try when the South Africans ran out of defenders, but the Blitzboks held on for a place in the final against New Zealand at 5.33pm today, after the Kiwis beat England 14-5 in their semi-final.
Blitzboks – Tries: Cecil Afrika, Seabelo Senatla. Conversion: Afrika (1).
Fiji – Try: Jerry Tuwai. Conversion: Amenoni Nasilasila (1)