Published: Wed, April 17, 2019
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Astonishing comeback sees South Africa crowned HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens champs

Astonishing comeback sees South Africa crowned HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens champs

Branco du Preez has played in more matches for South Africa's Sevens team than any other player, but the Blitzboks playmaker experienced a completely new feeling in winning the HSBC World Rugby Singapore Sevens on Sunday. Whether or not they are able to hold to become series champions for the first time, Team USA are all but guaranteed a top-four spot, which would mean automatic qualification for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Fiji also lost to Scotland and only just scraped through to the final.

The Blitzboks remain fourth on the overall standings after eight rounds, 24 points behind leaders USA.

Meanwhile, Fiji takes on New Zealand in the third quarter-final match at 4.14pm. He said: "They won (the Hong Kong Sevens) last weekend, so they're obviously not far from their best". Hirayama kicked four conversions. Tries by Tim Mikkelson and Akuila Rokolisoa in the final two minutes of the match swung the tie in the All Blacks Sevens' favour.

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Fiji flew into the lead in the opening seven minutes, looking unstoppable, as Aminiasi Tuimaba, Napolioni Bolaca and Vilimoni Botitu made their intensity count on the scoreboard.

After their disappointing performance at the Hong Kong Sevens last weekend, Neil Powell's side had to start this tournament strongly, considering they are in the same pool as rivals Fiji.

This was before tries by Kurt-Lee Arendse, Angelo Davids and Ryan Oosthuizen injected hope into a beleaguered South African side.

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The win takes South Africa to 121 points on the World Series Sevens standings, still in fourth place behind New Zealand (130), Fiji (142) and leaders US (145).

Selvyn Davids then slotted a penalty right in front of the posts to give the Blitzboks a 20-19 lead with seconds left on the clock.

The floodgates opened in the second half with the Blitzboks chalking up 24 unanswered points. "These youngsters hang onto every single word that you tell them and well done to them, they're very gutsy and showed it out there in the second half".

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