For two weeks it seemed as if the Blitzboks’ calm, counterattacking way of playing couldn’t be stopped.
But on Sunday night, England found a way at the worst possible time – the final of the Cape Town Sevens.
All they did was absorb South Africa’s pressure to win a tense showpiece match 19-17.
It was really that simple.
The Blitzboks got off to an ideal start when a loose pass was gleefully scooped up for Chris Dry, the hero in last week’s Dubai final, to score in the left-hand corner.
England continued to try and play themselves out of South Africa’s half, firmly believing that if they remained as patient as the hosts, a gap would appear.
It duly did when Cecil Afrika slipped in midfield, allowing the lanky Richard de Carpentier to cross the whitewash.
Moments later, England spread the ball brilliantly, allowing Dan Norton to silence the huge home support.
There was hope Seabelo Senatla, who was only on the bench due to a calf injury, would appear after half-time but he clearly wasn’t in good enough shape to help out.
Instead, Rosco Speckman got the Blitzboks back in the game after he cleverly spotted space behind the English defence and chose to kick.
He regathered and scored.
But England were not to be denied.
The also put the defence under pressure with a good kick forward, before captain Tom Mitchell’s brilliant pass to Ruaridh McConnochie led to the decisive try.
In a game-defining moment, Mitchell kicked the touchline conversion.
South Africa gamely kept fighting and even exploited Dan Norton’s yellow card for a high tackle when Werner Kok went over in the corner.
Justing Geduld could’ve extended the game into extra-time if he nailed a difficult conversion but he missed.
Point-scorers: Blitzboks (5) – Try: Chris Dry, Rosco Speckman. Conversion: Cecil Afrika. England (12) – Tries: Richard de Carpentier, Dan Norton, Ruaridh McConnochie. Conversions: Tom Mitchell (2).