Cape Town - The Blitzbokke collected 17 valuable World Series log points on Sunday after they defeated Samoa 26-5 to finish third at the popular Hong Kong Sevens tournament. The Springbok Sevens now have a two point lead (110 points) at the top of the standings after Fiji outplayed New Zealand by 33-19 to lift the Cup.
The tournament win moved Fiji into second spot, just one ahead of third-placed NZ. The top four teams on the league table at the end of the season qualifies for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The teams will be in action in Japan next weekend where they will play in the Tokyo Sevens on 4 and 5 April.
The Springbok Sevens staged a magnificent comeback in their Cup semi-final against Fiji. Unfortunately for them, that was not good enough and they suffered a heart-breaking 21-15 loss against the Pacific islanders.
Fiji raced away into a 21-0 lead at halftime as after they staged a typical attacking blitzkrieg which saw them scoring three converted tries. They kept South Africa at bay with several crunching tackles and were clinical when in possession.
Jerry Kunatani, Pio Tuwai and Tuwai Vunisa all scored for Fiji to hand their team a 21-0 halftime lead. South Africa came out fighting in the second half and finally managed to get their hands on the ball.
Cecil Afrika, veteran Frankie Horne and speedster Seabelo Senatla were the scorers for South Africa, who managed to cut the lead to 21-15. The three missed conversion kicks proved to be crucial in the end.
Earlier, the team qualified for the semi-finals after a grinding out a hard-fought 7-5 win over Australia in their quarterfinal encounter. Werner Kok scored the winning try after Jesse Parahi had given the Aussies the lead with an unconverted try.
Afterwards Brown said the team did well to bounce back against Samoa after their narrow defeat to Fiji. “We got up to play for some crucial points and I am glad the boys got a good win over Samoa. We came agonisingly close against Fiji, but we have to stop giving them such a head start. I think we showed our character by fighting back, but it was just too far in the end.
“Now we must prepare for Tokyo, get a good week of training behind us and stage another good challenge for the Cup,” said Brown.
With just three more rounds remaining, the top four teams on the World Series standings are:
1. South Africa 110 points
2. Fiji 108
3. New Zealand 107
4. Australia 84