The Springbok Sevens finished third at the Las Vegas Sevens on Monday morning (SA time) following their 21-10 win over tournament hosts, the United States, in their playoff match at the Sam Boyd Stadium.
Fiji fought back from 0-15 down to beat Australia 21-15 to win the Cup. Earlier in the day, Australia edged South Africa 14-12 in their semi-final clash courtesy of two penalty tries.
Fiji took the outright lead on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series standings with 91 points after five rounds. The Springbok Sevens are placed second on 86 points and they are followed by New Zealand (82) and Australia (73).
Neil Powell, the Springbok Sevens coach, was satisfied with the USA win but not too pleased with the error count against Australia. “We did well to win the last match after the disappointment of the semi-final loss,” explained Powell.
He added: “We made to many handling errors and also had some lapses in defence against Australia. The yellow cards did not help either and we also wasted some good scoring chances,” added Powell.
According to Powell, there were also some positives from their visit to Las Vegas. “We had an opportunity to give Bryan Habana some game time and I am pleased with his performances. He made some good decisions on defence and we all know it’s not easy for a player to come from fifteens straight into Sevens action,” said Powell.
Skipper Kyle Brown said he was pleased with the way the team performed after seven changes were made to the squad. “Obviously disappointed with the loss against Australia, but we showed character against a fired up USA in the playoff match and I am glad we could finish the tournament with a win in our last match.”
Speedster Seabelo Senatla scored 11 tries in six matches and increased his tally for the season to 36.
Tim Agaba scored his first try on the World Series circuit against the USA and he was quickly followed by Seabelo Senatla and Branco Preez. Perry Baker and Carlin Isles grabbed a try apiece for the USA tournament hosts.
Justin Geduld was shown a yellow card in the second half, but the Springbok Sevens had done enough by then to secure the victory.
In the Cup semi-final, Australia were awarded two penalty tries after Rosko Specman was penalised on yellow carded on both occasions.
Senatla opened the scoring after a bruising opening period of huge tackles on both sides, but Australia took the lead when Specman was yellow carded for his tackle on Quade Cooper. The referee awarded the Aussies their first penalty try (7-5).
However, the Springbok Sevens regained the lead after halftime when Brown drove over under the posts to make the score 12-7. But with time up already up on the clock, the South Africans lost the ball and that allowed Australia to launch one final attack. In his desperation to save a try, Specman launched himself into a huge tackle, for which he was again yellow carded. Australia were awarded a second penalty try, which allowed them to advance to the Cup final.
The leading try scorers following the Las Vegas Sevens are:
- Seabelo Senatla (SA) 36)
- Savenaca Rawaca (Fiji) 27
- Samoa Toloa (Samoa) 27
The top five teams on the current HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series standings:
- Fiji 91 points
- South Africa 86
- New Zealand 82
- Australia 73
- United States 64