Paris 7s: BlitzBoks are champions

Sun, 14 May 2017 14:12
Large blitzboks world series champions 800

QUARTERFINAL & SEMIFINAL WRAP: South Africa were crowned winners of this season's Sevens World Sevens Series on Sunday, after reaching the Final of the penultimate leg in Paris.

The BlitzBoks arrived in the French capital 25 points ahead of closest rivals Fiji in the standings on the back of four tournament wins and seven consecutive finals.

With 22pts on offer for a tournament victory and just one round remaining, in London on May 20-21, South Africa clinched the title after third-placed England lost to Scotland, before seeing off New Zealand 26-5 in their own semifinal.

South Africa coach Neil Powell described the Series win as an "amazing blessing".

"The guys have been working hard for the last three seasons to win," Powell said.

"We came close last year, credit to the guys, they're not scared to put in the hard work.

"There is more relief as a coach than a player, but thankful like I said.

"Hopefully, we can keep it up and want to finish strong here and in London.

"We've just been focusing on ourselves, no matter who we play we want to keep our standards high."

Cup semifinals

In the first of the semifinals Scotland went from their own tryline to the other end of the field and land the first five-pointer as George Horne - who's been top class weekend - scythes through England's defence to skip over in the corner.

Scott Wight delivered a psychological blow to England on the stroke of half-time by slicing through their defence and restoring his country's seven-point lead. At the other end, Dan Norton had brought England level.

Scotland scored a majestic team try in their Cup quarterfinal against Fiji earlier, but they sealed a Cup semifinal spot with a piece of individual brilliance. Mark Robertson had been in cracking form all weekend, and he times a pass forward with his boot and surged onto it in a flash. He got it down without any sort of problem and the Scots were in control.

But, at the other end, James Rodwell sent Dan Norton away for a phenomenal try and it was still anyone's game.

Back we go to the Big Show! Time to concentrate on the main event as England and Scotland meet in a Cup semi-final battle of Britain.

Scotland go from their own tryline to the other end of the field and land the first five-pointer as George Horne - who's been top class weekend - scythes through England's defence to skip over in the corner.

Despite a Dan Norton hat-trick, England ran out of time and narrowly lost out to Scotland 17-19. The Scots march on into the Cup Final, while South Africa can celebrate being the new HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Champions!
 
Neil Powell's side went into their Cup semifinal with New Zealand knowing they were the new World Series champions.
 
The All Blacks were out of the blocks quicker here, though, as Regan Ware roared over.

South Africa are so dangerous in the midfield and after Ruhan Nel got a steal, Cecil Afrika slided through a sliver of space to put the BlitzBoks ahead following Philip Snyman's leveller.

Specman then collided with the uprights but, amazingly, has the wherewithal to hold on to the ball and touch it down. That was a try that perfectly demonstrated the brilliance, the balance and the spirit of this incredible South African team, who moved into their eighth Cup Final of the season.

The world series champions were in celebration mode! Cecil Afrika flicked it inside to avoid the backtracking DJ Forbes and the returning Rosko Specman smashed it down.

Results:
Scotland 19-17 England
South Africa 26-5 New Zealand

Fifth-place semifinals:
United States 24-14 Fiji
Samoa 21-19 France

Trophy semifinals
Argentina 15-14 Canada
Australia 14-12 Wales

Thirteenth-place semifinals:
Russia 15-7 Kenya
Japan 26-19 Spain

Cup quarterfinals:

Earlier Scotland stunned Olympic champions Fiji 24-0 and set up a Cup semifinal against England.

Jamie Farndale and Mark Robertson each scored a brace of tries for the Scots, also surprise victors over series leaders South Africa on Saturday, against an uncharacteristically sloppy Fijian side.

"We have some great individuals in the team with real pace, ball players and some big players," said Robertson.

"We are a tight group, we have only missed out on small margins, but hopefully we can carry it on."

It set up Scotland to meet England, 26-12 winners over the United States.

The other semifinal was  between South Africa and New Zealand, the BlitzBoks having beaten defending champions Samoa 12-0 thanks to tries from veterans Cecil Afrika and Werner Kok.

Results:
Scotland 24-0 Fiji
England 26-12 United States
Samoa 0-12 South Africa
New Zealand 14-0 France

Challenge Trophy quarterfinals:

Results:
Canada 33-0 Russia
Kenya 7-12 Argentina
Australia 28-19 Japan
Wales 26-14 Spain

Source: @WorldRugby7s & AFP

 

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