SAN FRANCISCO, United States – Springbok Sevens captain Philip Snyman said on Monday the Blitzboks will return to South Africa with their heads held high and smiles on their faces after their third-place showing at the Sevens World Cup at AT&T Park in San Francisco this weekend.
The reigning HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champions started the three-day tournament in style, securing commanding wins over Ireland on Friday and Scotland in the Cup quarter-finals on Saturday. On Sunday though, they were outplayed by England in the Cup semi-finals, losing 29-7, before bouncing back in style to beat Fiji 24-19 in the bronze medal play-off.
“As disappointed as we were in the performance against England, so happy we were in beating Fiji for that bronze medal. We wanted to finish the season with a performance to remember and we did that,” said Snyman. “There is no way to sugar coat the defeat against England – we were outplayed. They were smarter than us and we played their game, not ours.”
The Blitzboks held a 7-0 lead after a great run by Selvyn Davids but then succumbed to the English tactical play and accuracy. Three tries before the break and two more in the second half saw the English advance to the final against New Zealand, who outlasted Fiji in the other semi-final. But the Blitzboks delivered a top class performance to bounce back and beat Fiji, a team who scored six consecutive wins over the South Africans during the recent World Series.
“The way we responded against Fiji was the ideal end to the season,” said Snyman. “We cannot wait to get back home and spend some time with the families and loved ones, but also to return to South Africa with a smile on our face and a medal around our necks.”
Siviwe Soyizwapi ended as the tournament’s co-top try scorer along with Joe Ravouvou (New Zealand) after his try against Fiji. Both scored six tries. The Blitzbok speedster also ended up their top scorer with 30 points, followed by Justin Geduld on 29 for his five tries and two conversions. The bronze medal was the best finish at a Rugby World Cup Sevens since 1997, when South Africa claimed silver.
African News Agency (ANA)