The Blitzboks delivered a composed performance to beat the USA 19-12 and progress to the Cup final of the Sydney Sevens on Sunday.
It was by no means a perfect performance, but it was enough to see off the resilient Americans and thus seal a spot in the final, where they will face Fiji. It will be South Africa’s third final appearance in the opening four tournaments of the World Sevens Series.
The Springbok Sevens made perfect start when JC Pretorius scuttled down the left flank to score after just 20 seconds. But their joy was short-lived as the USA hit back with a try-double to take the lead.
Suddenly the Blitzboks looked shaky and unsettled. They retained possession well, but failed get over the advantage line thanks to the USA’s press defence. The situation called for a moment of individual brilliance and it came in the form of Selvyn Davids.
Showing great awareness, precision and execution, the speedster hacked the ball forward and outpaced the defence to recollect possession and score unopposed to level matters at 12-12 heading into the break.
In stark contrast to the opening seven minutes, the second half was a physical battle. The forwards went toe-to-toe with each other, but in the end it was the Blitzboks’ fleet-footed Angelo Davids who made two telling contributions to turn the result in South Africa’s favour.
Captain Stedman Gans danced his way through to score the decisive try, but with more than enough time and opportunity for England to come back, Angelo Davids first made a try-saving tackle right on the touchline when he hauled in Carlin Isles.
Then in the dying moments of the game with England on attack, Angelo Davids made another crucial tackle and got to his feet quickly to go for a turnover. The ball-carrier held onto possession, leaving the referee with no choice but to award a penalty to Davids, allowing South Africa to close the game out.
The final will take place at 11:56am SA time.
Final score: RSA 19 USA 12 pic.twitter.com/EQFYGOhp23
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) February 2, 2020