By Mark Etheridge
The Blitzboks blasted into the final of the Sydney Sevens tournament on Sunday with wins against the United States and then Australia in the semi-final.
They opened day two’s campaign with a 21-10 win against the US and then went past the home side 26-12 on a scorching Sydney afternoon.
Neil Powell’s men got off to the perfect start in their semi-final with Kwagga Smith rounding off a polished move which saw the South Africans running the ball through more than 10 passes from a penalty deep in their own half. Branco du Preez added the two points from the conversion.
The Aussies stayed right in it though and teenager Tim Anstee went over on the left after a powerful diagonal run. The conversion was wide.
Just before halftime it was that man Seabelo Senatla who went over for his eighth try of the tournament after a kick and chase had seen Aussie captain James Stannard holding on too long. The Blitzboks went wide and right and Senatla merely had to round off.
That saw the halftime score reading 12-5.
Not having beaten the Blitzboks in their last five enounters the young Aussie side had it all to do when Mick Adams was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle. And it got even worse shortly afterwards when Stannard jointed his teammate in the ‘naughty chair’ for a cynical trip when the Blitzboks looked certain to score. It could have been a red card!
It didn’t take long for the Blitzboks to take advantage and it was Chris Dry who went over after some finely judged ball control skills by skipper Philip Snyman to keep the ball in play on the left hand touch line.
That saw the score 19-5 and it was all but over when Smith got this second try after an Aussie line-out deep in their own half went horribly wrong and Smith was able to scoop up the loose ball and barge over.
There was late consolation for Australia when Simon Kennewell brought some more respectability to the scoreline as he went over to the right of the posts and the successful conversion made the final score 26-12.
The Blitzboks will now take on England in the final at 9.46am SA time as they bid to maintain their series lead.
There’ll also be the small matter of avenging their day-one defeat to England!
Picture of Senatla in action earlier in the tournament courtesy of Mark Kolbe/World Rugby