SARU's Sevens Academy on Saturday retained the Zimbabwe International Sevens title they won last year by defeating hosts Zimbabwe 21-15 in the final at the Harare Sports Club.
The side, coached Academy Manager Marius Schoeman, withstood a late challenge by the hosts to add this title to the Safaricom Nairobi Sevens, Dubai International, Punta del Este and the George IPL Sevens tournament victories over the last months.
The South Africans took an early 14-0 lead through tries by captain Steven Hunt and Jamba Ulengo. WJ Strydom converted both.
Zimbabwe came back to score two unconverted tries to trail the powerful South African side by 14-10 at the break. The South Africans, who included seven fully capped Springbok Sevens players, were made to work very hard in the second half before Nardus van der Walt sent Hunt away for his second to clinch the title for South Africa.
On day one, the South Africans secured round-robin victories over Zimbabwe's second stringers, the Goshawks (46-0), were forced to pull out all stops against Hong Kong (12-5), before finishing the day undefeated with a (29-5) win over the hosts.
Day two started with a 26-5 thumping of Georgia, before the SA side were pushed all the way by a very committed Russian side (10-5), which had just spent two weeks preparing in Cape Town.
"There will always be pressure on us in tournaments like this as we are expected to win. When you play with the Springbok badge at whatever level on your chest, you will always be a target. But I am happy very happy with the result, it was a tough final against Zimbabwe, who played very well," coach Schoeman said afterwards.
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell also attended the final day of the tournament .
Powell travelled to Harare to have a look at a number of players who are in contention for a place in his squad for the next two rounds on the IRB Sevens World Sevens circuit.
The Springbok Sevens team depart for Japan on Monday.
"It was very important for the fringe players to get game time and experience and coming out here was key for us to build depth in our squad and structures. It was important for us to be here and see how they perform,” Powell said.