The Springbok Sevens bounced back from their Cup semi-final loss against Fiji to outplay Kenya 41-7 and claim third place at the Gold Coast Sevens on Sunday morning (SA time). The Fijians successfully defended their tournament title by beating New Zealand 32-14 in the final at Skilled Park.
The Blitzbokke can however take plenty of positives from their encouraging performances during the opening round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Brisbane.
Kyle Brown’s team qualified for the Cup semi-finals thanks to a solid 26-14 victory over France before losing their only match of the two-day event against the outstanding young Fijians.
All the teams now head to Dubai where the second round of the World Series will take place on 30 November – 1 December.
The victory means Fiji collect 22 Series points to sit top of the standings, ahead of New Zealand (19), South Africa (17) and Kenya (15).
Earlier, Argentina beat France 14-7 to win the Plate, new core team Spain edged England to lift the Bowl and hat-tricks from Michael Fedo and James Fleming helped Scotland to the Shield.
Despite the disappointing loss against the tournament winners, the Blitzbokke can be proud of their attacking display over the two days which saw them scoring no less than 28 tries, the most by any team.
Powerhouse winger Cornal Hendricks, who made an impressive debut in the previous World Series season, continued his good form for the Blitzbokke by scoring eight tries at the Gold Coast, which made him a joint top-try scorer. The Bolander made an impact with his pace and power and managed to score three times each against Canada in the pool stages and Kenya in the playoff for third place.
Springbok Sevens coach, Paul Treu, said afterwards he was pleased with the team’s overall performance, especially their ability to execute their new attacking approach.
“We only lost one game and that was against the eventual winners, but apart from that we really played well. Ruwellyn Isbell and Reuben Johannes made their national debuts while Tshotsho Mbovane also made a welcome comeback after a long absence.
“Going into the tournament, I was a bit worried about our fitness levels because we had so many players coming back from injury. However, there was a real desire to play good attacking rugby and now we must keep this form in Dubai, where we will have a tough pool to navigate.”
The Blitzbokke were drawn in Pool C of the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens, sharing a pool with Dubai crowd favourites England, Samoa and Portugal.
HSBC Sevens World Series log (top 5 teams) after round one:
1. Fiji 22 points
2. New Zealand 19 points
3. South Africa 17 points
4. Kenya 15 points
5. Argentina 13 points
Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens, 30 November – 1 December