South Africa’s men’s Sevens team finished in 10th place at the Hamilton leg in New Zealand after suffering a 12-5 defeat to Fiji in the ninth-place playoff on Sunday.
A tough weekend for Neil Powell’s side, where their tournament trophy hopes were ended as early as their second pool match against England, got even more difficult on Sunday as they sustained losses to both Kenya and Fiji.
It simply was not good enough from the Blitzboks as they seemed to struggle to find their usual cohesiveness. That could be down to the number of changes to the squad following a number of high-profile departures to the Vodacom Super Rugby franchises. Regardless, there will be plenty of work to be put in before next weekend’s tournament in Sydney.
Against Fiji, it looked like Angelo Davids would be the hero for the South Africans as his first-half try was all that separated the two teams going into the closing stages. The speedster had also notably won a couple of key turnovers on defence and threatened whenever he got ball in hand.
Powell turned to his veterans to finish the job, bringing a trio of Werner Kok, Chris Dry and Branco du Preez off the bench. However, Fiji worked their way upfield and took the lead with seconds left on the clock after Kavekini Tabu scored a converted try. Napolioni Bolaca then scampered away after a turnover to seal the result.
Earlier in the day, the Blitzboks suffered possibly their most disappointing result of the weekend as an in-form Kenya side put them to the sword to claim a deserved 36-14 pool stage win.
The Kenyans raced into a 19-0 lead, but a try from youngster Muller du Plessis gave South Africa hope of a comeback in the second half. Zain Davids then went over shortly after the half-time break to narrow the scores, but Kenya ensured themselves of a win as Alvin Otieno and Vincent Onyala scored within a minute of each other.