Invoking the spirit of the Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks, the Blitzbokke powered their way to a World Sevens Series title in Dubai on Saturday.
They convincingly beat old foe New Zealand 15-0 in a tense final, but only put the issue beyond doubt in the last minute when Seabelo Senatla ran clear to score.
The Blitzbokke dominated the final in terms of territory and possession, but the New Zealanders deserve kudos for the way they stayed in the game. The Blitzbokke were denied twice with the try line seemingly at their mercy but the Kiwi defence held stout.
The South Africans held sway in the first half but had nothing to show for it until the last move of the half. It was only after sustained pressure that the they found a way through. After they had laid siege to the New Zealand try line they were awarded a penalty. The ball was whipped wide where captain Siviwe Soyizwapi rounded off unopposed.
SA held a slender 5-0 lead at the break.
The early part of the second half followed the same pattern. SA were in the ascendancy, but the New Zealand defence held firm. Eventually however, the pressure told and Chris Dry was at the end of an overlap to score the second try.
“I’m proud. We wanted to play as a team,” said Soyizwapi who was also proud of that they kept New Zealand scoreless for the first time in 19 years in this final.
The win will be a huge confidence booster ahead of the Cape Town leg of the tournament starting on Friday. “We will be very keen to play at home,” Soyizwapi said.
Earlier, SA surged into the final of the Dubai leg after beating Samoa 38-7 in their semifinal thanks largely to a thunderous performance from forward Ryan Oosthuizen. He proved instrumental in attack and defence. He seemed to pop up everywhere and made telling interventions.
The tournament started ingloriously for Oosthuizen when he forgot his jersey at the team hotel on Thursday. He soon made up for it as he was the first Blitzbok to record points in this season’s World Sevens Series by scoring a try, against Kenya.
The Blitzbokke took a while to get going against Samoa. Paul Scanlan tiptoed through the SA defence inside the first 90 seconds to hand Samoa the lead, but the Blitzbokke took control to run out comfortable winners.
Notable absentees from the semifinals were defending World Sevens Series champions Fiji who lost to Argentina during the pool stages. Fiji beat Canada 40-9 in the ninth-place play-off.
England won the bronze final 17-14 against Samoa. In the women’s final New Zealand beat Canada 17-14.