The Blitzboks suffered an agonising 14-12 loss to Australia in their Cup semi-final at the Las Vegas Sevens before beating the USA 21-10 to finish third, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
South Africa led 5-0 at half-time against Australia after a try by Seabelo Senatla, but ill-discipline once again proved costly as Rosco Speckman was shown a yellow card for a no-arms tackle on Quade Cooper that also led to a penalty try being awarded.
It got interesting when Cooper was then sent to the sin bin, enabling the Blitzboks to establish a 12-7 lead after a try to captain Kyle Brown with just 10 seconds remaining in the match, but an error gifted Australia one last opportunity. Speckman was then again guilty of a dangerous tackle in preventing a certain try, with the referee having no hesitation in awarding a penalty try to hand the Aussies the win.
'We made too many handling errors and also had some lapses in defence,' said coach Neil Powell. 'The yellow cards did not help either and we also wasted some good scoring chances.'
Despite that disappointment, the Blitzboks responded well in the third-place play-off, with Tim Agaba and Seabelo Senatla scoring in the first half to help establish a 14-5 lead at half-time. For Senatla, it was his 11th try in Las Vegas, while Perry Baker scored the solitary first-half try for the USA.
Branco du Preez extended the Blitzboks’ lead soon after the restart, and despite Carlin Isles scoring the hosts’ second try soon after Justin Geduld was sent to the sin bin, the Springbok Sevens side were able to hold on for victory.
In the Cup final, Fiji completing a comeback 21-15 victory over Australia to move into an outright lead at the top of the World Rugby Sevens Series standings.
Meanwhile, the Blitzboks have been grouped with Scotland, Argentina and Brazil for the pool stage of this weekend’s Vancouver Sevens.
Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP Photo