Two Cecil Afrika tries helped South Africa beat Tonga 24-0 to win the Plate Final at the Hertz New Zealand Sevens in Wellington. The Springbok Sevens collected 13 valuable points and move to 61 points overall, where they are now placed fourth in the standings of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
New Zealand won their home tournament for a second year in a row after beating closest rivals Fiji 24-7 in the Cup Final. England beat Samoa 21-12 in the playoff for third place.
Having gone unbeaten on the opening day, the Blitzbokke were relegated to the Plate division with a 21-5 loss to Fiji in the Cup quarterfinals, their first outing of match day two. They were then made to work hard against a determined Canadian side, who lost a close fought encounter 21-19.
Tries by Stephan Dippenaar, Cornal Hendricks, Kyle Brown and three conversions by Afrika saw South Africa through against a stubborn Canada in the Plate semifinals.
In the Plate Final, South Africa scored a convincing win over Tonga who could not repeat their excellent from of the previous day, when they qualified as unbeaten pool leaders for the Cup quarterfinals. A brace of tries by Afrika, the current IRB Sevens Player of the Year, and one each by Frankie Horne and Brown, secured victory for the Blitzbokke.
Leading from the front. Kyle Brown runs away from the Cook Island defense (Pic: Susan Sylvia Gordon)
Kyle Brown (pictured above), the Springbok Sevens skipper, said afterwards: “I suppose when you lose out in a Cup quarterfinal you’ve got to maximise your points for the rest of the tournament, and we did that. We had a really tough game against Canada. They’re really showing how they’re growing every single week, and then we met up with Tonga and played as clinically as we could to win.”
The Series now moves to the United States, where South Africa is the defending Las Vegas champions.
“The USA Sevens has been good to us these last couple of years. We enjoy playing there so we’ll go there now and just try and be as clinical as we have been today,” added Brown.
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