Blitzboks earn a second World Series crown and the first this decade
It underlines the level of focus that the Blitzboks have that they did not even know they had already won the overall HSBC World Sevens Series title before their Paris leg semifinal against New Zealand on Sunday.
With nearest challengers England eliminated by Scotland in the first semifinal‚ their mathematical chance of winning with the 2016-17 series slipped away.
But the Blitzboks were busy warming up for a tough match against old foes New Zealand‚ and while some of the management knew England’s result‚ it was not passed on to the players.
And none asked about it either‚ preferring to stay focused on the job of beating their fiercest rivals.
That kind of concentration was a key to their Blitzboks’ success that brought a second World Series crown on Sunday‚ and the first this decade.
NZ were well beaten 26-5 by SA, and Scotland lost 15-5 in the final.
It was fitting the overall title was secured with a fifth tournament win in an eighth final appearance this season.
The Blitzboks didn’t claim the overall crown with a whimper thanks to their rivals stumbling‚ but with a bang due to their own ruthlessness.
"We actually did not know that England lost their semifinal match against Scotland as we were warming up for our own semi against New Zealand‚" captain Philip Snyman confirmed.
"We knew that we would be series champions if we beat New Zealand‚ so went out with all guns blazing to win that one‚ which we did. We were champions already and did not even know.
"But then‚ it would not have mattered as we wanted to win the tournament anyway. We are a team that believe in hard work and don’t want anything offered to us on a plate. We want to earn everything that comes our way," Snyman said.
"We executed well‚ but massive credit must go our management team in this regard. They laid out the perfect game plan and we just executed that. The system worked perfectly‚ not only this weekend‚ but also all season and they deserve credit for that."
The series moves on to London this week for the season finale at Twickenham.
Snyman and his team could be forgiven if they took it slightly easy now that the World Series title was secure‚ but that was not in their make-up.
They are voracious winners and want to keep pushing for another tournament victory.
In 2001-02 New Zealand won seven tournaments in an 11-leg season. But since the tournament has settled at 10 stops across the globe‚ six wins is the most any side has achieved.
So there is a little bit of history for the Blitzboks to target in London if they can claim a sixth tournament victory.
After appearing in eight finals this season‚ SA are also closing in on the record held by NZ when they made nine finals in 2001-02.
"We set out to win as many tournaments as we can‚ so nothing has changed now that we have won the series‚" Snyman said.
"The Blitzboks will still go out there and give everything they have to win in London. We are not letting our standards down."
SA will face Kenya‚ Wales and the US in a tough pool A at the HSBC London Sevens‚ to be played at Twickenham.