South Africa lost an absorbing Adelaide Sevens Cup Final 28-20 against New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday morning (SA time).
The Adelaide Oval has proven to be a happy hunting ground for the fast South African team in the past, who were playing in their third Cup Final in four years in Australia.
It was a historic first tournament win for New Zealand in Australia and they have now won four of the six HSBC Sevens World Series tournament titles on offer this season.
South Africa has however managed to increase their points tally to 92, which places them fourth overall on the World Series log. New Zealand is first with 134 points, followed by England (121) and Samoa (100).
Paul Treu, the Springbok Sevens coach, said afterwards New Zealand deserved the win but added his team has made huge strides this season, especially during the last three tournaments. They won the Cup in Las Vegas and lifted the Plate in Hong Kong.
“We had some really tough matches this weekend and I’m very pleased with our performances overall. We played against Samoa in the pool stages, then defeated Fiji and England before playing New Zealand for the final.
“I thought we ran them close in the final. Our youngsters were up for the challenge and we fought back well to score four tries against New Zealand, so I’m proud of the guys,” said Treu.
New Zealand led 14-10 after tries by Lote Raukabula and Tomasi Cama, while SA replied through Chris Dry and Branco du Preez. The second half produced some thrilling rugby, with the pace of South Africa against the organised, powerful Kiwis.
Cecil Afrika scored his 60th World Series try and substitute Paul Delport, who made a big impact when he came on after halftime, also scored to put SA 20-14 ahead. Frank Halai and the impressive Cama however sealed the match with late tries for New Zealand.
Here’s Paul Treu after the Cup Final (audio courtesy of irbsevens.com):
South Africa once again has great support all around the Adelaide Oval: