Courageous Blitzboks fall agonisingly short in Sydney Sevens

Courageous Blitzboks fall agonisingly short in Sydney Sevens

Angelo Davids of South Africa scores a try against Argentina during the Sydney Sevens rugby tournament at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney on February 1, 2020. (Photo by SAM MOOY / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE --

Fiji show better temperament in the final, but Neil Powell’s troops can be satisfied with an immense turnaround after last week’s troubles in New Zealand.

The Blitzboks fell agonisingly short of completing the perfect turnaround following a 10-12 reverse to Fiji in the final of the Sydney Sevens on Sunday.

Given that they finished a lowly tenth in Hamilton, New Zealand last weekend, Neil Powell’s charges were a team transformed once they crossed north over the Tasman Sea.

Despite finishing unbeaten in their pool and then surviving a testing semifinal against the USA (19-12), the South Africans were undone by some vital errors in the showpiece.

A poor kick-off receipt meant Justin Geduld and JC Pretorius had to complete a vital dual tackle on their own tryline, but Fiji’s momentum eventually led to Napolioni Bolaca’s opener.

However, the Blitzboks’ resolve shone shortly afterwards after a brilliant run on the left by the burly but pacy Zain Davids allowed Pretorius to dot over.

There was the added bonus of Josua Vakurunabili receiving a yellow card, but the South Africans couldn’t make it count, instead conceding a second to Bolaca, who exploited some poor tackling.

The second half continued to be characterised by some ferocious competition at the breakdowns, before the Blitzboks gave themselves a fighting chance with a sweeping move that was brilliantly rounded off by the influential Davids.

But they lacked control in the dying stages of a game played in wet conditions to hand the Islanders the title.

Point scorers:

Fiji – Try: Napolioni Bolaca (2). Conversion: Bolaca.

Blitzboks – Try: JC Pretorius, Zain Davids.  

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