Close but no cigar … the Blitzboks rugby sevens side lost their bid to win their second World Series crown as they were smoked by a red-hot Fiji in the Cup quarter-final clash in London on Sunday.
Fiji won 19-7 to ensure that they can’t be overtaken in the standings, while South Africa now face a play-off match.
South Africa had the early possession but in classic Fiji style, with 2min 31sec left in the half the islanders scored with their first visit into SA territory as Savenaca Rawaca streaked down the left flank.
The conversion was unsuccessful but the Fijian’s next attack was spot on as they stretched the Blitzbok defence and cut them to shreds for Kolinisau to go over after some missed tackles. Two attacks, two scores and halftime was 12-0.
Coach Neil Powell urged his men on at halftime saying ‘it’s just seven minutes of your life. Discipline is going to be important.’
For his part Fiji coach Ben Ryan told his troops: ‘It’s a 0-0 game, think of it as that. We’re close to creating something special hear.’
Well, it soon wasn’t 0-0 as Chris Dry gave the Blitzboks brief hope after a Fijian mistake pounced on by skipper Kyle Brown who read play well to create Dry’s 65th Series try-scoring opportunity. Branco du Preez’s conversion meant the Blitzboks were just five points adrift.
That was a minute into the second half but with four minutes to go it was effectively game over as the Blitzboks were caught cold down the right flank as Rawaca turned on the afterburners to cross for his second try.
It must be said that referee Richard Kelly and the assistant refereeing didn’t do any favours for the Blitzboks but nor did the fact that they had lost to US on Saturday, meaning they had to face their nemesis side.
Fiji are now able to celebrate only their second overall series victory, their last having come 10 years ago.
Source : South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee