England erased an early deficit to defeat the Blitzboks 19-7 in the Cup final of the Vancouver Sevens. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
The Blitzboks have been in irresistible form throughout the season, except when they play against England, a team responsible for all three defeats South Africa have suffered in the series.
England are also the only other team, beside the Blitzboks, to win a tournament (Cape Town and Vancouver events) so far in the series.
South Africa scored early through Siviwe Soyizwapi, but came under pressure for the rest of the first half in which they were forced to make 13 tackles and trailed England 40-15 in passes completed.
While their robust defence has to be commended, the dam wall eventually broke after the half-time hooter when Richard de Carpentier ran over Rosco Speckman to score. Tom Mitchell added the sideline conversion to level matters at the break.
During half-time, England’s coach could be heard urging his charges to ‘Attack, attack, attack.’ And they obliged, making the perfect start to the second half when Dan Bibby beat the Blitzboks’ rush defence with a kick in behind to score under the posts.
That try changed the complexion of the contest, as the Blitzboks nervously started to make a number of unforced errors. And two minutes after Bibby’s effort, speedster Dan Norton was away for England’s third after South Africa failed to secure the ball at a ruck.
Nevertheless, there was still plenty of time for a comeback and when Speckman went flying down the left-hand side of the field it looked as if the Blitzboks would score. But with no English defenders in close proximity, Speckman pulled up with a hamstring injury and dropped to the ground in agony.
Play went on, albeit with six men, but the Blitzboks seemed distracted by it all and couldn’t find a way past England again.
Photo: Dan Cain/Getty Images
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