Unbeaten after their first day’s games, the Blitzboks went down 21-19 after leading 19-7 with four minutes to play.
The game then turned on its head as try-scoring machine Seabelo Senatla clattered into US speedster Carlin Isles, sending him crumbling upside down to the turf, and was sin-binned for two minutes.
Two minutes in rugby sevens is an eternity and so it proved for the Blitzboks as they conceded two quick tries through the powerful Matai Leuta a minute after the yellow card, and then Isles rubbed salt into the Blitzboks’ wounds by cantering over himself after many a missed tackle from the South Africans.
The successful conversion by Madison Hughes sent the US into the semi-finals and the South Africans into the Plate semi-final against Argentina, which they won 26-5 to advance to the final, where they will take on Australia later on Saturday.
It was an “iffy” performance by the Blitzboks in the Cup quarter-final against US as they conceded three turnovers in the first 90 seconds, and they conceded the first try of the match as Perry Baker ran in from around 40m out after a great pass from Zach Test.
Justin Geduld pegged things back after snapping up a loose ball following a scything tackle by SA skipper Kyle Brown.
The Blitzboks edged ahead after the halftime hooter had sounded as Philip Snyman went over down the right after a sweeping move by the Blitzboks after a turnover.
The Blitzboks increased their lead to 19-7 after halftime as the unstoppable Seanatla had gone over for his seventh try of the tournament.
But then the match turned on its head with that fateful yellow card.
The Blitzboks can have few excuses though after giving the ball away to the United States 11 times to the US’s seven.
The Americans are the undisputed giant-killers in Dubai after they beat perennial favourites New Zealand 14-12 on Friday.
Now, having failed to defend their title in Dubai, it will be back to the drawing board for the Blitzboks ahead of next weekend’s Cape Town Sevens at the Cape Town Stadium.
One thing for sure, though, is the fact that the Sevens code is now an Olympic medal opportunity. That means so many more countries have moved up into contention for the podium, apart from the usual suspects New Zealand and South Africa. – ANA
Original source: Blitzboks shocked by USA