The Blitzboks hammered Argentina 29-14 in the Cup final of the Cape Town Sevens on Sunday. JON CARDINELLI reports.
Call it a comeback. On day one, the Blitzboks were off the pace and had to scrap just to qualify for the Cup play-offs. On day two, however, they were the best team on show and ultimately deserved winners of the inaugural Cape Town tournament.
The other major contenders failed to pitch. Fiji fell to France in the Cup quarter-finals. An injury-hit New Zealand went down to Argentina at the same stage.
South Africa saved their best performances for the business end of the tournament. They were too strong for Australia in the quarter-finals and then France in the penultimate game. In the grand final, the Blitzboks were a cut above Argentina in terms of physicality, composure and finishing.
The Pumas scored in the third minute of the decider through German Schulz. South Africa responded immediately, just as they had done in earlier matches against Australia and France.
Rosko Specman provided the spark with a brilliant solo try. South Africa worked hard at the breakdowns, and captain Kyle Brown made several important turnovers.
It was from one resultant counter-attack where Justin Geduld opted to grubber through the Pumas defence. Seabelo Senatla read the play well, and collected the loose ball to complete an important score.
Specman snatched his second try in the final minute before half-time. Argentina would have the final say, though, with Axel Muller scoring to narrow the deficit to 17-14.
The Blitzboks played with power and precision in the second stanza. Senatla scored his second try of the evening to give the hosts an important eight-point lead. A thrilling linebreak by Cheslin Kolbe then culminated in a score for Rayno Benjamin. It was the try that put the result of the match, and the tournament, beyond all doubt.
The Blitzboks have successfully defended their South African title. The victory in Cape Town marked their first tournament win since the success Port Elizabeth in December 2014.
Kenya, who recorded a shock win over the hosts on day one, finished the tournament in fourth place.
Cup: South Africa 29 Argentina 14
Plate: Fiji 29 USA 19
Bowl: Scotland 19 England 0
Shield: Samoa 40 Russia 5
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images