Blitzbokke beaten in Dubai Final
Despite a courageous fight back in the second half, which saw them scoring three tries, the Springboks Sevens were outplayed by Fiji who deservedly won their first Dubai Sevens title on Saturday evening. They beat South Africa 29-17 in an absorbing final after leading 19-0 at halftime.
Fiji were the odds-on crowd favourites to lift the cup they have never managed to win in 14 attempts after their thrilling 44-0 semifinal win over New Zealand. However, they were made to work for their success, especially in the second half, when a depleted but determined South Africa simply refused to give up.
Injuries ruled out a trio of South African players - Frankie Horne, Stephan Dippenaar and Jamba Ulengo – and they were made to play for two minutes without Justin Geduld after he was yellow carded for a deliberate knock down of the ball when a rampant Fiji were on the attack.
Benito Masilevu scored twice and when Saiminosi Viriviri crossed for their third try, Fiji were able to go into halftime with a commanding 19-0 lead.
The Springbok Sevens, who won all their matches on their way to the Cup final, made fewer errors in the second half and finally managed to string a few moves together. They grew in confidence and this allowed Sampie Mastriet, Chris Dry and Cheslin Kolbe to cross the try line.
Emosi Mulevoro scored Fiji’s fifth try to put the match out of reach of South Africa and in doing so capped a very successful weekend for the islanders.
Neil Powell, the Springbok Sevens coach, said Fiji deserved their victory: “Fiji were the better team and deserved to win. They started very positively, put us under huge pressure and really used their opportunities well.”
Powell added he was very pleased how his team responded in the second half: “We knew we had to score first after the restart, gain some momentum and to put them under pressure. We tried our best but they proved too strong in the end. I am very proud of the boys and now we are looking forward to build on this performance next week at home in Port Elizabeth,” said Powell.
Final: South Africa 17-29 Fiji
Third-place Playoff: New Zealand 17-14 England
New Zealand 0-44 Fiji
South Africa 26-12 England
New Zealand 26-19 Argentina
Fiji 26-14 Scotland
South Africa 21-12 Kenya
Wales 12-33 England
Final: Argentina 21-5 Wales
Argentina 12 - 5 Scotland
Kenya 19-24 Wales
Final:Portugal 12-17 Australia
Portugal 33-24 Canada
Samoa 14-19 Australia
Portugal 24-7 Russia
Canada 22-12 Spain
Samoa 21-10 France
Australia 47-7 USA
Final: Spain 17-28 France
Semi-finals: Russia 5-17 Spain; France 19-14 USA