The Blitzboks will play New Zealand in the Cup final of the Dubai Sevens after beating Fiji 12-7 on Saturday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
The decider will take place at 17:33 SA time.
Apart from a rusty performance against Uganda in their opening match, the Blitzboks had been in superb touch in Dubai.
This knockout clash against Fiji was to be their toughest challenge so far, but they dispatched the Pacific lslanders with clinical finishing and resolute defence.
South Africa led 12-0 at the break thanks to tries by Cecil Afrika and Seabelo Senatla.
Afrika scored early after picking up possession at the base of a ruck close to the line and dived over for the five-pointer. Senatla made the initial break in the lead-up to that try and when the ball was shifted wide, Kwagga Smith carried to close to the line before Afrika finished off.
With Fiji hot on the attack, Senatla masterfully showed his versatility when he effected a brilliant turnover at the breakdown and ran 50m to score unopposed.
As much as Fiji tried to use their power and brute force to break down the South African defence, the Blitzboks didn’t buckle under the pressure.
An example of the Blitzboks determination was on show when Jerry Tuwai made a clean break down the right flank. With no one to beat, all he had to do was sprint to the tryline. But Senatla chased after him and hauled him in, forcing the Fijian playmaker to step into touch.
Late in the game, after a sustained period of attack, Fiji created an overlap and Tuwai scored a converted try. There was enough time for one last restart to ensure a frenetic finish. With 20 seconds remaining, Fiji secured possession from the kickoff, but again the Blitzboks’ unwavering defence forced a knock-on.
Photo: Francois Nel/Getty Images
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