New Zealand claimed their maiden HSBC Cape Town Sevens title as South Africa had to settle for bronze after a pulsating day of action in the Mother City.
The Springbok Sevens team had to work very hard to beat Fiji in their quarter-final early on the second day of the tournament, and despite trailing by 21-12 at the break, Neil Powell’s team fought back to win 31-26.
The Kiwis waited for the South Africans in the semi-final, but two second half tries by the men from New Zealand put a dampener on proceedings at a packed Cape Town Stadium as the fans’ favourites crashed out of the Cup competition, going down by 19-12 in a replay of last weekend’s Dubai final.
The Blitzboks then had to dig deep in their bronze medal match against Canada, but they managed to hang on for a 19-17 win to finish the tournament in third position.
In the Cup Final, the New Zealanders had too much fire-power for Argentina and won by 38-14 to move into the top spot on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series log with 41 points, followed by South Africa on 39. Fiji, who finished fifth in Cape Town, are third in the standings on 28.
Commenting on his side’s performance, Powell said their performances on Day Two did not meet their expectations.
“We had a good first day, but on Sunday we came up short in our execution,” said Powell.
“We did not protect the ball when we needed to and will have a look back after our break on where we need to improve for the next two tournaments in Australia and New Zealand.”
Blitzboks captain Philip Snyman said the victory over Canada was a good way to end the tournament and thanked the crowd for their wonderful support.
“Obviously we wanted to contest the final, but it was not to be. The win over Canada was a positive though,” said Snyman.
“It was amazing playing in front of a packed stadium. Even when we did not win against New Zealand, the crowd backed us and it was a great feeling to know your fans back to till the end. That is why we love playing here in Cape Town, in front of out passionate supporters.”