The Blitzboks were crowned Dubai Sevens champions after beating New Zealand 15-0 in the final on Saturday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
Talk about a turnaround. South Africa crashed at the quarter-final stage at the Dubai Sevens last year and that set the trend for a rather unsuccessful season. But this time around, the Blitzboks slowly but steady marched into the final.
Having cruised into the decider over a weekend during which series title contenders the USA, Australia, Fiji and England all fell by the wayside, the Blitzboks still had to dig deep to overcome a motivated New Zealand side to return to the top of the podium. Coming into this final, these teams were tied for the most Dubai titles won (six), but with this victory the Blitzboks are now the most successful team at this tournament.
It is just the second time in history that New Zealand have been held scoreless in a Cup final.
Despite a high-octane start with both teams hammering away at each other’s tryline, defence came out top as neither South Africa nor New Zealand could break the opposition’s defensive code. Admittedly, the Blitzboks dominated possession and as a result created better scoring opportunities.
As it were, it would be New Zealand who blinked first as the South Africans patiently created an overlap and scored through captain Siviwe Soyizwapi, with one second left on the clock before the half-time whistle sounded.
The action didn’t let up in the second stanza and once again defence had came out on top. South Africa camped in the Kiwis’ half for three minutes after the restart before Chris Dry eventually finished off a well-worked team effort based on incredible continuity and composure.
With both of the Blitzboks’ conversion attempts going well off target, New Zealand still had a chance to launch a comeback to turn the result in their favour. And probing in the red zone, the Kiwis appeared on course to do just that. But the ball went loose and South Africa pounced. Seabelo Senatla reacted instinctively as he hacked the ball forward and regathered possession to go the length of the field untouched to seal the win and the Cup for his team.