England stun Blitzboks

England secured a shock 19-17 win over the Blitzboks to secure the Cape Town Sevens title in a dramatic final on Sunday night, writes CRAIG LEWIS at the Cape Town Stadium.

This was not the result the tens of thousands of fans who turned up at the Cape Town Stadium expected, but there can be no denying that England were worthy winners over a Springbok Sevens side that produced a flat performance in the final.

Although Werner Kok did score with the final play of the game to reduce the deficit to just two points, it was not enough as the conversion sailed wide, which left an expectant crowd in stunned silence.

Having overcome Wales and then New Zealand earlier in the day, the Blitzboks were heavy favourites heading into the final – particularly after last weekend’s comfortable win at the Dubai Sevens – but it was not be.

After three successive victories in home tournaments, the Blitzboks came up just short as England proved to be the hungrier team on a beautiful night in Cape Town.

Significantly, there was no Kyle Brown or Seabelo Senatla available for the home side in the final, with both key players having suffered unfortunate injuries earlier on in the day.

Initially, proceedings seemed to be going according to script when the impressive Chris Dry was put away to score in the corner as early as the third minute, but the Springbok Sevens never looked entirely convincing from there.

All tournament the Blitzboks’ defence has been outstanding, but with two minutes remaining before the break, England produced a beautiful piece of play to send Richard de Carpenter on a 50m run to score under the posts.

It was a score that seemed to rattle the home side, and just moments later, Dan Norton found himself in space out wide, and was able to go over unopposed as England moved into a 12-5 lead at half-time.

From there, it was always going to be crucial as to who scored next, and beneficially for the Blitzboks, Rosko Speckman stepped up to produce a moment of magic as he grubbered through the defence, collected and scored to help draw the scores level soon after the restart.

Nevertheless, England quickly restored their advantage when Rory McConnochie went over to put his side 19-12 ahead with just three minutes remaining, and despite a late try to Kok, it was not enough for the Blitzboks. Instead, it was England that celebrated a memorable triumph.

Photo: Gallo Images

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Craig Lewis