South Africa won the Plate at a cold and slippery Hong Kong Stadium last night.
In the process the BlitzBokke earned 16 Series points after beating Australia 26-19 in a pulsating Final.
Bernard Foley and Hamish Angus (2) scored for Australia but two from Sibusiso Sithole and one each from Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez clinched the victory for the 2011 USA Sevens Cup winners.
South Africa was earlier eliminated from the Cup challenge by nemisis Fiji who won in extra-time (24 – 19) when they, somewhat controversially scored the ‘golden try.’
However,many fans of the BlitzBokke will be wondering what might have been had the referee spotted an apparent knock on in extra-time of their thrilling Cup quarterfinal against Fiji.
With the scores locked at 19-all, a Fijian player was tackled and appeared to have lost the ball forward, only for the referee to wave play on. They scored (against the run of play) from the resulting move to deliver a cruel knockout blow to the gutsy South Africans.
Speaking to coach Paul Treu at the Awards Dinner last night, he expressed his satisfaction about the referee’s decision to allow play to continue. “I reviewed the footage afterward and I’m happy with the referee’s decision,” he said.
They played above expectation
A nevertheless proud Treu was full of praise for the huge effort from his players:
“I could not have asked for more from them. They gave it everything they got and we were very unfortunate against Fiji. The injuries to Paul and Bernardo meant we were down to ten players and as a result, the guys just had to shoulder on, which they did in splendid fashion.
“We will have a lot of sore bodies during the next couple of days and we will therefore have to take it somewhat easy during the week in Adelaide.”
The Springbok Sevens management team has made two injury-forced changes to his squad for the next HSBC Sevens World Series tournament in Adelaide. Paul Jordaan and Bernardo Botha both suffered leg injuries on the second day and played no further part in tournament, reducing the South Africans to ten players and forcing Treu to field almost the same line-up for the remaining matches.
The pair has left for home while MJ Mentz and Pieter “Poot” Engelbrecht left on Sunday evening to join the team in Adelaide.
Meanwhile the Series top scorer Cecil Afrika (pictured above) was last night awarded the Lesley Williams Trophy as the tournament’s Best & Fairest player. Other players who made the judges’ short-list and who received an honourable mention include: Tim Mickleson (NZ), Tom Josefu (Samoa), Tomasi Cama (NZ), Philip Mack (Canada) and Frank Halai (NZ).
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