The Springbok Sevens team, have had a great start to the season in Dubai, with three UCT players being part of the action. South Africa had taken out Australia in the quarter finals (19:0) and old time rivals Fiji in the semis (10:7 in extra time) and met England in the Cup final in the packed brand new stadium aptly called “The 7s”.
The Boks piled on the early pressure, with their trademark defence keeping England pinned deep in their own half. From a scrum turnover the Springboks went wide to the right, where Varsity Cup star Robert Ebersohn cut back to score the opening try, giving his team a 7-0 lead after just three minutes.
England’s hands let them down on a number of occasions, as the Boks defended well and kicked cleverly to play in the opponents half. Another penalty at the breakdown gave the Boks another great opportunity just 10 metres out and Mpho Mbiyozo made the advantage count as he scored his team’s second try. The conversion was wide, but at 12-0 the South Africans had a commanding lead – which was how it stayed till half-time.
An early free kick, for a skew feed at the scrum, gave England a chance and Tom Biggs made it count as he beat Stick on the outside to open England’s account with a try – making it 5-12. A succession of penalties against South Africa soon saw the Boks receive a general warning.
Within seconds of coming onto the field as a replacement Ikeys scrumhalf Paul Delport felt the full brunt of it, as he was yellow carded after another penalty and England made the numerical advantage count with a try – the conversion tying it up at 12-all.
With two minutes left the Boks won a crucial scrum just inside their 22, after holding up the England player in the tackle. The tempers started to boil over and the referee spoke to England about their over robust play.
Another turnover, at a ruck, with less than a minute to go, saw Matie flyer Gio Aplon sprint 80 metres, before handing the ball to Rayno Benjamin for the match-winning try. The conversion made the margin 19-12 and gave South Africa their second Dubai title.
Rookie Kyle Brown did not get any game-time in the tense final, but did well in his first world class tournament.
We are looking forward to seeing the boys in George in the SA leg of the series.