Blitzboks snatch extra-time win

Ruhan Nel scored a try in extra-time to send the Blitzboks into the Cup final of the Hong Kong Sevens after securing a thrilling 29-24 win over the USA on Sunday.

In a pulsating encounter at the Hong Kong Stadium, the USA fired late to overturn a 17-point deficit to tie the score at 24-24 with time up on the clock. Madison Hughes had the chance to send the Americans into the final with a conversion in stoppage time but his attempt was wide, prompting extra-time.

The Blitzboks then withstood an onslaught on their line from the kick-off before a turnover penalty led to Nel finishing off a superb team effort for the win.

Earlier in the contest, Perry Baker broke away down the right-hand touchline, drew three defenders and showed great awareness to release Hughes for the try. The Blitzboks hit back with a try of their own, after some great work by Cecil Afrika saw Siviwe Soyizwapi score.

A handling error by the USA in their half provided another great scoring opportunity for the Blitzboks. From the set piece, the ball was spread wide and Dylan Sage ran a great angle to score behind the posts, before captain Philip Snyman swivelled his way past three tacklers for a try that gave the South Africans a commanding 19-7 lead at the interval.

When Soyizwapi dotted down for his second of the match soon after the restart, the Blitzboks appeared to have sealed victory. But the USA launched a three-try comeback, including a brace from Perry Baker, to draw level at 24-24.

Staring defeat in the face after the USA secured possession from their own kick-off in extra-time, the Blizboks called on their unrivalled defence to block them from scoring, before Nel’s intervention decided the outcome.

The Blitzboks will play Fiji in the Cup final at 12:55 (SA time).

Hong Kong Sevens fixtures and results

Photo: Getty Images

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Mariette Adams