The Blitzboks conceded a last-minute try to suffer a heart-breaking 17-12 loss to Fiji in Sunday’s Cup semi-final in Cape Town. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
Coming into the semi-final on the back of a hard-fought win over Scotland, the Blitzboks were largely regarded as marginal underdogs against arch-rivals Fiji.
It turned out to be a clash worthy of two sevens heavyweights, but ultimately it was the superior class, execution and physicality of the Fijians that saw the islanders to victory.
With the crowd at the Cape Town Stadium finding full voice in the late afternoon on Sunday, they were brought to life as the Blitzboks made the ideal start to proceedings when Siviwe Soyizwapi was put away to score in the corner within the opening two minutes.
However, the supporters were just as quickly silenced when a couple of basic defensive errors from the Blitzboks enabled Fiji to hit back with two tries that suddenly sent them into a 12-5 lead at the break.
At that point, the Blitzboks looked to have no answer to the physicality of the Fijians, but some lovely interplay then saw Rosko Specman sent away for a try under the posts that drew the scores level.
With four minutes remaining, there was everything to play for.
Fiji were next hot on attack, but this time it was the Blitzboks who stood firm in defence, and earned a vital turnover. Soon after, Fiji’s Vatemo Ravouvou was sent to the sin bin for an infringement, and the Cape Town crowd roared once again.
Yet, with the final play of the game, the Springbok Sevens had no answer to the pure pace of Alosio Sovita Naduva, who darted away to score and send Fiji to the Cup final.
The Blitzboks will now look to fight it out for a third-place finish that they also achieved at last year’s Cape Town Sevens.