South Africa came up against a resurgent France in one of the Cup 1/4 final matches at the 2011 Dubai Sevens.
This was the match that saw the Blitzbokke eliminated from the Cup competition and I wanted to have a closer look-see at just what went wrong. As I update scores live on Twitter, FaceBook and BlitzBokke.com, it is not always easy to follow the games as close as I want to, so I had to wait for someone to upload and share this particular match on YouTube.
The teams turned with France leading SA by only 7 points so the first half was pretty even. I counted:
2 penalties (SA 1, FR 1)
2 line-outs (SA 1, FR 1)
1 scrum (SA 1)
2 turn-overs (FR 2)
1 try (FR 1) that came after 7 phases by the French.
Half-time score: South Africa 0 – 7 France
The second is where South Africa came unstuck as evidenced by:
6 penalties (SA 4, FR 2): Two penalties to SA came after the final hooter and led to Bernado Botha’s try. 1 FR penalty, late tackle by F.Horne led to Albaladejo try.
2 line-outs (FR 2): First line-out from a penalty (late tackle by F. Horne) led to Delmas’ try.
1 scrum (FR 1): SA took the ball in and it was held up.
3 turn-overs (SA 1, FR 2): Balls lost forward by F. Horne & B. du Preez after SA penalties.
3 tries (SA 1, FR 2)
Full-time score: SA 5 – 19 France
South Africa didn’t look like they were in this game. In Sevens, possession is king and with 4 turn-overs to 1, France had a distinct advantage. They took the game to the South Africans and when they didn’t have possession, they closed down every attacking option by the Springboks. Shoddy defense and a great turn of speed by Albaladejo, Delmas and Bouhraoua also led to France’s 3 tries.
Game, set and match, France.
A concerned Paul Treu watches as France takes command of the match