The Blitzboks held on to clinch a hard-fought 14-12 win over Australia to finish third at the Hong Kong Sevens on Sunday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
Having suffered a last-minute loss to New Zealand in the Cup semi-finals, the Blitzboks again had to settle for a shot at bronze, and certainly made hard work of it after opening up a 14-0 lead early on.
The Blitzboks struck first with one of the tries of the tournament as some silky interplay and passing finally saw Cecil Afrika put away for an early score. A few moments later and the Springbok Sevens doubled their lead as Siviwe Soyizwapi broke away down the left touchline to go over unopposed.
Sam Myers scored for Australia just before half-time, though, reducing the deficit to seven points at the break, while Boyd Killingworth went over in the corner almost immediately after the restart to suddenly make it a two-point ball game.
The Blitzboks pinned Australia in their territory as the clock wound down, but they then made the mistake of going for a try when time was up on the clock, allowing the Aussies to launch one last surge. A rare penalty attempt with the last play of the game could have handed Australia the win, but mercifully for the Blitzboks, the kick sailed wide.
Despite the result, South Africa will move from second to third on the World Rugby Sevens Series standings, with Fiji having extended their lead at the top of the log after defeating New Zealand 21-7 in the Cup final.
Although New Zealand scored first and scores were level 7-7 at half-time, the physical Fijians ran away with it after the break.
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