The Blitzboks will face Scotland in the Cup final of the London Sevens after defeating Fiji 26-21 in Sunday's semi-final at Twickenham. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
It was a case of the newly crowned World Rugby Sevens Series champs, Fiji, taking on the second-placed finishers, South Africa, and it was expected to be an enthralling encounter between this season’s two best teams.
And so it proved, with the scores remaining deadlocked at 14-14 at half-time, but the Blitzboks produced a clinical second-half performance and came away with a victory that will please them no end.
Having beaten Argentina earlier in the day, the Blitzboks went into this clash against the big Pacific Islanders with some of their more physical players in the starting lineup, which saw Ryan Kankowski and Tim Agaba named in the run-on side.
However, a mix-up between Kankowski and Francois Hougaard enabled Fijian Kitione Taliga to pounce on the loose ball and sprint half the length of the field to score the opening try in the second minute.
Agaba hit straight back for the Blitzboks when he scored a superb solo try, while Kyle Brown went over moments later as South Africa surged into the lead.
In typical fashion, though, Osea Kolinisau responded with a timely try just before the break to draw the scores level at 14-14.
The Blitzboks would have known the importance of scoring first in the second half, and they did just that as Dylan Sage turned on some silky footwork to dance his way over the tryline three minutes after the restart.
Then it was the turn of Rosco Speckman to produce an individual moment of magic as he chipped ahead and collected the ball to score and open up a 12-point buffer with less than two minutes to play.
As is so often the case in matches between these two sides, proceedings continued to ebb and flow as Apisai Domolailai scored for Fiji, but the Blitzboks won one last penalty and emerged with a morale-boosting win.
Sunday’s London Sevens title decider will get underway at 18:55, with Scotland having overcome the USA in the other semi-final to progress to their first ever Cup final.
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