By Mark Etheridge
Despite a disappointing 21-14 loss to England in the final of the Tokyo Sevens tournament in Japan on Sunday, the Blitzboks still top the standings as the Rio Olympics draw ever closer.
The final was something of a damp squib with pouring rain meaning errors were aplenty.
South Africa scored two tries, one in each half, through Justin Geduld and Cecil Afrika but England made the most of their opportunities after the first half ended level at 7-7.
Captain Tom Mitchell chipped ahead and gathered his own kick early in the second half to see England ahead 14-7 and then forward Phil Burgess even showed a clean pair of heels to the Blitzbok speedsters in running almost the full length of the field to also go under the posts to make it 21-17.
Afrika pulled the South Africans back to within seven points with three minutes to play but given the conditions and some astute play by the English it was never going to be enough in the dimly lit Prince Chichibu Stadium.
Still, the fact that neither Fiji nor New Zealand made it to the final, sees South Africa lead the standings by four points over Fiji with just two legs to play, in Scotland and England.
It was England’s first tournament win since Wellington two years ago.
Second on the standings are Fiji with New Zealand now nine points adrift.
The Blitzboks at least had the consolation of having both Kwagga Smith and Werner Kok included in the ‘Tokyo Dream Team’ on conclusion of the tournament.