South Africa defeated Fiji by a point to lift the Singapore Sevens champion trophy. Photo: Sport Singapore
South African rugby fans celebrated as the Blitzboks lifted the Singapore Sevens champion trophy for the first time on Sunday (April 14), after beating Fiji by just one point with a score of 20-19 at the National Stadium.
The Blitzboks were undefeated in the tournament, having gone three for three on the first day. They then brushed off Samoa in the quarter-final before powering past USA in the semi-final to set up a final against the Fijians.
Fiji commenced the first half by dismantling South Africa’s defence, swiftly taking a 19-0 lead by the halftime mark.
The South African team knew that they had to stage some kind of comeback if they were to win back the trophy, which was exactly what they did.
South Africa's Kurt-Lee Arendse in action during the game. Photo: Sport Singapore
They scored three tries five minutes into the second half, by Kurt-Lee Arendse and Angelo Davids respectively. They then took advantage of Fiji’s Aminiasi Tuimaba's yellow card as Ryan Oosthuizen scored a third try to close the gap to just two points (17-19) heading into the final minutes of the game. A penalty conversion with 10 seconds left edged them 20-19 in front, and eventually won them the title.
South Africa head coach Neil Powell said: “I am very happy. On day one, the boys played especially well. I’m thrilled they’ve put in so much effort over the last two days and reaped the rewards of their hard work."
"Going into the finals is always going to be difficult – it’s natural to have a bit of doubt and disbelief. I think just going to the field and telling the guys that we’re still in the game and if we score first we can give ourselves a shot at winning this helped to inspire the younger players. They hung onto every word we said and started to believe it."