The Blitzboks claimed the Dubai Sevens title with an impressive 24-12 win over New Zealand in the Cup final on Saturday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
While the Springboks were locked in battle against Wales – and coming second best – the Blitzboks were at their rampaging best as they charged to a second successive Dubai title.
Before this match, South Africa boasted a record of 22 wins in their last 23 games in Dubai. Surprisingly, this was New Zealand’s first appearance in a Cup final since the Hong Kong Sevens in 2016.
The Blitzboks were vastly superior and in control of every aspect of this encounter and New Zealand simply had no answer to the South Africans’ pace and precision in attack or to their smothering defence.
The Blitzboks made a fast start and when Joe Ravouvou was yellow-carded for a dangerously high tackle on Branco du Preez, the South Africans pounced and scored three tries in his absence.
Kwagga Smith made a charge at the line, but when he was illegally brought down, captain Phillip Snyman took a quick tap and scored under the sticks.
New Zealand struggled to get out of their half and were forced to kick the ball downfield to get out of the danger zone. But that backfired too as the South Africans launched an attack from deep, and after a mini-break from Werner Kok, Seabelo Senatla finished off a superb team try.
And it only got better as Kwagga Smith charged down another poor kick inside the 22 and chased down the ball to score before it went dead.
The Blitzboks started rather poorly in the second half, when replacement Rosko Specman’s first involvement came in the form of a yellow-card offence. With a numerical advantage, the Kiwis scored two quick tries to make it a seven-point game.
But the Blitzboks found their second wind and pinned New Zealand in their half once more. In typical fashion and with less than a minute remaining, replacement Tim Agaba basically walked over tryline for the fourth try, while a New Zealand tackler ineffectively clung to his feet, to secure the title for South Africa.
Photo: Tom Dulat/Getty Images