Treu rues missed chances

2011-12-10 22:08

Port Elizabeth - Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu blamed missed opportunities in a see-sawing final as South Africa’s hopes of claiming victory in the inaugural Nelson Mandela Bay South African Sevens tournament were cruelly dashed with a try on the final siren by New Zealand.

New Zealand overturned a two-point deficit to win the title 31-26, with Toby Arnold pouncing on a downfield hack. He then gave the ball to team-mate Tomasi Cama who scored his 100th IRB Sevens try.

“Finals are about taking opportunities and they took theirs and we missed ours,” said Treu. “Hopefully we have learned valuable lessons such as we should have kept the ball in hand when there was only a minute or a minute and 15 to go. But it’s experiences like this that the players will learn from.

“We set our goal on reaching the final and we played well to do that and there were positives to take form this into the next tournament in the New Year. We’re just three points behind the Series leaders and the title is won in May not December, so there’s time to work on things.”

It was a nail-biting end to a thrilling final in which the lead changed hands five times before New Zealand became the third different winner in the third tournament of the HSBC Sevens World Series this season.

The 19 points the Blitzbokke took as runners up allowed them to close the gap on the series leaders to just three points. They are on 48 points, just behind joint leaders Fiji and New Zealand who are on 51.

New Zealand scored first after 80 seconds when Cecil Afrika spilled the ball on the halfway line as he attempted to pass out of the tackle. From the opportunity DJ Forbes crossed from close range.

Two minutes later South Africa levelled when Bernado Botha went over in the left hand corner with Branco du Preez converting from close to the touchline to level the score, 7-7.

New Zealand claimed a second while the Blitzbokke were down to six men after Boom Prinsloo was yellow carded for entering a tackle from the wrong side. In his absence New Zealand built pressure on the South African line and when the ball squirted out of the side of a ruck Cama was on hand to pick up and score from close in.

Botha then popped up in the right hand corner to score his second and with Du Preez converting South Africa took the lead for the first time, 14-12. That lead looked certain to be extended on the half-time siren when Prinsloo hurtled down the short side of a ruck from 20 metres out. But the forward spilled the ball in the tackle just centimetres from the line and Frank Halai was eventually freed to gallop much the length of the field to put New Zealand into a 17-14 lead at the break.

The Blitzbokke grabbed that back when Steven Hunt scored two minutes after the restart and South Africa seemed to have taken control when they turned over the ball from the restart and Afrika danced in from close range with Du Preez converting to make it 26-17 with five-and-a-half minutes remaining.

However, a breakout try from Halai, after great defensive pressure by the Blitzbokke looked set to turnover the ball, closed the gap to two points before Cama’s heartbreaker from a similar turnover completed New Zealand’s comeback.
South Africa had conceded only three tries in their five match march to the final; racking up 104 points to nil on day one with victories over Canada (33-0), Kenya (45-0) and Australia (26-0).

Day Two’s opponents provided more resistance with France briefly threatening a repeat of their upset win in Dubai’s quarter-finals when they took a  5-0 lead before eventually succumbing 26-12. That set up a semi-final against the hard tackling Samoans who made the Blitzbokke work hard for a 12-0 lead before scoring a consolation try for themselves after the siren sounded as the home team sailed into the final with a 12-7 win.

Samoa finished third in the tournament after beating England, 17-14, in the bronze medal match. Wales beat Fiji remarkably easily, 48-0 to take the Plate; Scotland overcame Canada, 22-19 in the Bowl final and Zimbabwe won the all-African Shield final with a 19-12 victory over Kenya. 

Treu thanked the supporters who backed the team during the week and over the two days. “We wanted to give them a win in the first tournament but it wasn’t to be,” he said.

“But it’s been a great week and this tournament has the potential to be the best in the world.”

The Series now goes into the New Year break and resumes again with the Wellington Sevens in New Zealand on February 3.


South Africa - Tries: Bernardo Botha (2), Steven Hunt, Cecil Afrika. Conversions: Branco du Preez (3)

New Zealand - Tries:  DJ Forbes, Tomasi Cama (2), Frank Halai (2). Conversions: Cama (3).


  • colin.dovey - 2011-12-10 22:42

    At least we are up there still......and getting better all the time

  • gerhardt.nieuwoudt - 2011-12-11 08:23

    One of the great 7's finals off all time. What well done to the PE people for coming out in the thousands!!!

      Peter - 2011-12-11 10:37

      What no BRYCE factor, because we lost, i am disappointed

  • Leonard - 2011-12-11 09:31

    Be very afraid... your starting to via for the Sharks crown of chokers......

      Graham - 2011-12-11 10:08

      ell it took New Zealand more than quarter of a century to get over choking at every really important game. Perhaps South Africa can get over it a bit sooner.

      Bethoven - 2011-12-12 21:29

      yes and south africa will continue to grow stronger and stronger and thats a fact. @Graham, you really need to get overself and move on with your life instead of harking on and on about choking! or perhaps not

  • AcidBlade - 2011-12-11 11:00

    Just as useless as the 15 man bok team. South Africa is now the new CHOKERS of WORLD SPORT!!!

      Bethoven - 2011-12-12 21:30

      no they played a good game of 7s and they will get better and better

  • kevin.rack - 2011-12-12 04:31

    Time for a new coach!! How many years is a learning curve? How many years will it take to realise he is just not good enough, no matter how much of a good bloke he is?

  • Darryl - 2011-12-12 08:38

    It was a awesome day of rugby. The Boks did us really proud. The only thing I am disgusted about are the locals that support the All Blacks and they know who they are. It was disgusting to see this group of wanna be local NZ supporters to boo the Springbok team everytime they came onto the field. Even in the final when both teams played u booed when the ref would award us a penilty or something. If u love NZ so much then please pack your bags and live over there then. U cant call yourselves South Africans. Get over it now apartheid is over and we have players of colour in the team.

  • Jody - 2011-12-12 10:04

    Why kick the ball downfield with 36 sec on the clock?

  • pages:
  • 1