Blitzboks finish fourth

The injury-hit Blitzboks suffered a 12-7 defeat to Australia in their Sydney Sevens Cup semi-final, before then losing 26-12 to Fiji in the third-place play-off on Sunday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.

Misfortune has continued to follow the Blitzboks on the injury front this season, with captain Philip Snyman picking up an injury on day one in Sydney, adding to an already lengthy list of unavailable players.

Although the Springbok Sevens comfortably beat Argentina 26-0 in their Cup quarter-final on Sunday, they were completely out of sorts against Australia.

The Blitzboks were made to pay for an error-strewn first half as the hosts opened up a 12-0 lead at the break as Lewis Holland and James Stannard dotted down.

Kwagga Smith, who had recovered from an injury he also picked up on the first day, kept South Africa in the match when he scored early in the second half, but the Blitzboks continued to lack their usual penetration on attack.

Australia won a crucial penalty at the death when the Blitzboks were launching one desperate final attack, doing enough to progress to the Cup final where they ultimately suffered a last-minute 27-24 loss to New Zealand, while South Africa went on to face Fiji in the bronze final.

The Blitzboks managed to pull off a superb 31-0 victory over Fiji at the Wellington Sevens last weekend, but they couldn't repeat such a feat. The islanders opened up a 21-0 lead at half-time, with Osea Kolinisau scoring twice while Rosco Spekman was serving time in the sin bin.

It was a long way back for the Blitzboks from there, and although two tries in two minutes – scored by Dylan Sage and Sandile Ngcobo – cut the deficit to eight points, Savenaca Rawaca then scored Fiji's fourth try to secure the 26-12 result.

Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

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Craig Lewis