Paris 7s: BlitzBoks seal series win with Paris gold

Sun, 14 May 2017 17:03

FINALS WRAP: South Africa added the seal of a Sevens World Series win by claiming gold in Round Nine.

The BlitzBok, the most consistent team throughout the 2016/17 season, won their fifth title in their eighth appearance in a Final - beating Scotland 15-5.

South Africa had secured their first Word Series crown since 2009/09 hen they advanced to the Final with a 26-5 win over New Zealand in the semifinal.

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 22 points 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 17-19 to Scotland, before the BlitzBks comfortably saw off New Zealand 26-5 in their own semifinal.

Gold in Paris followed after they also won in Dubai, Wellington, Sydney and Las Vegas.

They had posted runners-up finishes in the series standings in the last four seasons.

With just one round remaining in London next week, the BlitzBoks now have 179 points - 34 points ahead of second-placed England (145), with Olympic Champions Fiji on 142 in third place.

"I think the guys came out and played phenomenally," said Werner Kok, the BlitzBok legend who named player of the Final.

"Every single guy played their part."

South Africa captain Philip Snyman admitted it's a rather special feeling to lead South Africa to their first series title since 2009.

"It is a tremendous feeling, we lost out in one final this season and to get back to winning ways is great.

"Here, we lost to Scotland in our first game [on Saturday], so I am really pleased with coming back to win the Cup and can't complain about eight finals in nine tournaments.

"The strike rate is phenomenal. This bunch of guys, I would go to war any day with any of them.

"They are champions, they are a band of brothers. They deserve all of it."

Cup Final - Scotland 5-15 South Africa

South Africa put the seal on their Sevens World Series title on Sunday, beating Scotland 15-5 in the Final of the penultimate leg in Paris.

Scotland's run of form saw them snap a 13-match losing run against Olympic champions Fiji - stunning the Pacific Islanders 24-0 in the quarterfinals, having also edged South Africa in pool play on Saturday.

But the BlitzBoks had their revenge at a packed Jean Bouin stadium in western Paris, dominating a Scottish side that had gelled well but looked tired.

South Africa dominated the opening minutes, and it didn't take long for them to work the ball into some space wide on the right.

A long pass from skipper Philip Snyman and Werner Kok danced away from the defence for the opening try.

The Scots struggled to get out of their own half, the BlitzBoks' hard-nosed defence keeping them pegged back.

Jamie Farndale had the first real break for Scotland, but he didn't back himself against the covering Branco Du Preez.

With no support to hand, the defence quickly turned over possession and Cecil Afrika linked up with Chris Dry to spin the ball wide for Dylan Sage to cross in the corner for a 10-0 lead at half-time.

Scotland were not done, however, James Fleming breaking and linking with Glenn Bryce, whose offload back inside found Scott Wight, who went over the whitewash to reduce the lead.

But the BlitzBoks hit back, replacement Rosko Specman brilliantly evading a tackle to race away down the touchline.

He was brought down by George Horne as he grubbered ahead, but Snyman was on hand to touch down the ball for South Africa's third try to seal a comfortable victory.

Third-place play-off -  England 5-12 New Zealand

New Zealand won the bronze medal match, tries from Sam Dickson and Sherwin Stowers cancelling out an early Will Edwards five-pointer for England in the 12-5 victory.

It was cagey in the opening exchanges - with Simon Amor's side dominating possession and territory. Dan Norton went on the charge and chipped for the line but didn't t get the better of Fa'asiu Fuatai. here was no score inside the first six minutes.

Sublime attacking from England, who have been patient in the first half, and they finally got their reward with the last play of the period when Will Edwards changes his angle to charge for the corner after Tom Mitchell enticed the defenders inside.

There was magnificent stuff from James Rodwell who used his strength to win the ball at the breakdown, with New Zealand piling on the pressure. Oliver Lindsay-Hague's entered the action with five minutes on the clock and an injured Tom Mitchell departed.

A beautiful chip over the top from Jamie Booth and Sam Dickson roared onto it to get the All Blacks on the board. Joe Webber sent the conversion through the sticks and all of a sudden New Zealand had the ascendancy.

A great try from Sherwin Stowers wrapped up the bronze medal for Scott Waldrom's side - with his first five-pointer of the weekend.

After Dan Norton let him squeeze through the gap, Stowers went charging for the line and the All Blacks took third spot in Paris.

Fifth-place play-off - United States 24-19 Samoa

United States, for whom speedster Perry Baker had been outstanding over the two days of competition, claimed fifth spot with a 24-19 victory over last season's winners in Paris, Samoa.

The United States started with Perry Baker shown a yellow card, but it didn't matter because they were up a try. There's great interplay between the big men and Folau Niua went over from close range. Mike Te'o added a second.

A world-class offload from Perry Baker for Andrew Durutalo, who extended the US Eagles' lead. Samoa grabbed a lifeline on the stroke of the break, though, when Samoa Toloa showed great presence of mind to land one after being hauled down just before the line by Matai Leuta.

Playmaker Alatasi Tupou offloaded beautifully inside to Samoa Toloa to land his second of the game after Maka Unufe had scored the USA's fourth following the restart. Samoa were refusing to go quietly and, with 30 seconds on the clock, Francis Ieremia made it a fight to the finish - but Mike Friday's men have enough points in the bank to hang on.

Challenge Trophy Final - Argentina 33-12 Australia

Santiago Mare brushed off the tackles and ate up the turf before a huge hand-off in the direction of Henry Hutchinson sent him in the clear for the opening five-pointer inside 30 seconds.

Australia made a mistake as Boyd Killingworth spilled the ball and Los Pumas Sevens pounced. Away went the try scorer Santiago Mare again and Franco Sabato was in support to and a second for the South Americans.

After some magical interchange play pulled the Australian defenders out of position, Fernando Luna added a third.

Australia gave themselves a glimmer of hope before the half-time break when Liam McNamara got them on the board, and Alex Gibbon finished off a physical, route-one move after Gaston Revol had extended Argentina's lead.

Jose Barros Sosa paced a fifth over the line for Santiago Gomez Cora's men and that wrapped up the Challenge Trophy for Argentina.
Thirteenth-place play-off - Russia 10-19 Japan

Thirteenth-place play-off - Russia 10-19 Japan

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