Champions Fiji deny Blitzboks

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In a dramatic day of action at Twickenham, the Springbok Sevens needed to win all three Pool A games, which they did, and hope Fiji slip up twice in Pool B to be relegated to the Bowl competition on Sunday.

And it almost happened, as the islanders suffered a shock 31-10 defeat to England in their opening match. They beat Wales comfortably 42-5, and then it was all down to their last group game against Australia.

The Aussies kept them at bay for most of the first half and were in fact camping inside the Fijian 22, but a turnover on their own tryline saw the Pacific Ocean outfit run the length of the field to score through Samisoni Viriviri.

Just on the stroke of halftime, Jerry Tuwai settled the outcome with a well-taken try from a five-metre scrum.

The Australians battled to retain possession against the abrasive Fijians, with even Wallaby wing Nick Cummins unable to make any inroads.

Fiji kept things tight for the entire second half, with Kitione Taliga and captain Osea Kolinisau closing things out with two late five-pointers to secure their third series title overall as they cannot be overhauled by South Africa.

The Blitzboks at least took revenge on Samoa with a convincing 22-0 victory in their final Pool A game on Saturday.

The Samoans were once again highly physical, but unlike in Paris last week, they were unable to dominate the South Africans this time around. The solidly-built Dylan Sage got stuck into the islanders, and scrumhalf Francois Hougaard wasn't far behind as he made tackle after tackle and harassed the Samoan ball-carriers at the breakdowns.

But the man who was so influential in the 14-10 win over USA earlier in the day, Cecil Afrika, took the initiative again early on against Samoa as he was brought down just short of the tryline. The Blitzboks took a quick tap penalty and the ball was swung wide for Sage to walk over.

The South Africans couldn't add to their tally before halftime, but Hougaard pounced after the break when the ball squirted out of a ruck to put the Bok Sevens two scores ahead.

Rosko Specman, who was kept on the bench in the 21-7 opening victory over Canada on Saturday, showed good pace to go close, where after Siviwe “Shakes” Soyizwapi demonstrated a delightful touch to put Specman over in the corner.

Soyizwapi finished things off when he was the recipient of a Hougaard break to ensure an unbeaten day one at Twickenham.

While the title is gone, the likes of Sage, Ryan Kankowski and Soyizwapi will look to continue their good form on Sunday to state their case for a place in the Blitzboks' final Olympic squad.

Meanwhile, Kenyan legend Collins Injera broke the overall try-scorers' record with his 231st touchdown in a 29-12 defeat to France, going past Argentina's Santiago Gomez Cora. South Africa's leader is Fabian Juries in fifth with 179, and he is being caught by Seabelo Senatla, who is ninth on 156.

ashfak.mohamed@inl.co.za

@IndyCapeSport

POINTS-SCORERS

South Africa – Tries: Dylan Sage, Francois Hougaard, Rosko Specman, Siviwe Soyizwapi. Conversion: Rosko Specman (1).

Original source: Champions Fiji deny Blitzboks

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