South Africa Wins Dubai Sevens

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 03: Players of South Africa celebrate beating Fiji to win the Cup Final during day three of the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens - HSBC World Sevens Series on December 3, 2016 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

The opening round of the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series has come to an end in Dubai, as South Africa wins the Dubai Sevens title. They outplayed the Series and Olympic Gold Medalists Fiji in the final, winning 26-14.

The Neil Powell coached side were on fire immediately from Friday, and continued on finals day to win the Dubai crown. The win (in a way) atones for the struggling Springboks who lost eight test matches this season. And with the series heading to Cape Town next week, this win will boost morale in the ‘Rainbow nation’. Their wounded national side could take courage from this.

Dubai Sevens: Day Three – The Lowdown

Blitzboks win Cup Final: South Africa 26 Fiji 14

Straight from the kickoff, Cecil Africa dances his way through the Fijian line, for a try converted by Branco Du Preez. A tremendous start, and a few minutes later Du Preez brushes off would be tacklers to extend the lead 14-0 over the Fijians.

Fiji were pinned in their own half however, the Blitzboks didn’t release the ball on the deck, and were penalized. Not needing any invitation, the Fijians took the ball 80 meters to score under the posts. The try scorer was none other than ‘captain courageous’ Osea Kolinisau, with the try converted, it was 14-7.

They went to the breather with the Blitzboks leading. The more convincing side, they still had to weary of a resurgent Fiji. And after a strong pep talk, the Fijians went straight on to score with nippy Jerry Tuwai leveling the scores.

Chris Dry the extended the Africans lead yet again, 21-14. With time running out, Seabelo Senatla then wrapped up the game with a kick and gather for a 26-14 finish to a riveting game.

The South Africans deserve this victory, they started well and kept at their tasks. Senatla had another outstanding weekend–11 tries over six games. Chris Dry and Werner Kok were lethal at the breakdown, and shredded the Fijians, who looked disorganized at times.

England wins British Isles Bronze battle

The English won the ‘battle of the British Isles’ when they thrashed the Welsh 38-10. They were ruthless, not giving any chance to the young Celtic side. Ironically, they defeated both United Kingdom sides; Wales and Scotland in Dubai.

England had a hard-fought match with Fiji in the semi finals, losing 31-12. On Day Two, the English side were powering over all sides before them. Today, they pushed past Scotland before falling to Fiji. In winning the playoff for third place, they gain crucial series points to keep in-sight of the leading Blitzboks and Fijians.

On the other side of the draw, Wales were thrashed by South Africa 36-5, but that does not fully respect their accomplishment. if you had told fans that Wales would compete for the bronze placing, nobody would have believed you. Well done Wales–they will take plenty of heart from this result. When beating Australia, it was a highlight for all British sevens fans.

ENGvWAL
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – DECEMBER 02: Luke Treharne of Wales in action during day two of the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens – HSBC World Sevens Series on December 2, 2016 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Australia wins 5th Place Play-off

The Aussies rounded out their campaign in the desert city, with a 19-12 victory over Scotland. They had a perfect Day One, but the Welsh had other ideas in the quarters. They humbled the Aussies 21-12. However, Australia bounced back to overcome the Kiwis 20-12 in their play-off match, to send New Zealand away [virtually] empty handed.

Scotland were impressive at the Dubai Sevens. Not many assumed they would reach as high as sixth place. After making the quarter finals, they suffered a narrow loss 21-24 to England. See the below video; with the English only pulling victory from the jaws of defeat in the last try of that game.

The Scots however bounced back, to defeat France in their fifth place semi final. Both teams will leave the desert for Cape Town knowing they can achieve more, so watch out for Scotland (winners of the London Sevens) to achieve much more in 2016/17.

United States claims Trophy Final over Samoa

The United States scored four converted tries to win 28-14 the first ever Trophy Final of the season. As a result of unfavorable results yesterday, they found themselves at the bottom half of the table on Day Two. Full credit to the Mike Friday coached side, who have plenty of strengths, but still need to eradicate weaknesses in the Day One matches.

The Fijian boys in the American side came alive in the game against their fellow South Seas islanders Samoa. Matai Leuta and Andrew Durutalo both crossed the whitewash. Perry Baker was as impressive as ever, scoring 5 tries over the two days, to show his caliber yet again.

The Americans overcame Kenya and Russia to reach the final. While the Samoans had a morale boosting win over Argentina, and also beat ‘new boys’ Uganda. The Manu will need to also show better ability to qualify higher on Day One. Narrow losses need to be corrected, so in five days, they must be ready for Cape Town.

Other results

The Canadians had to dig deep to overcome a determined Ugandan side to claim 13th place. The invited side for Dubai, Uganda kept on coming back in the game. The Canadians scored four unconverted tries, with Nathan Hiriyama crossing for the winner. Canada were too strong for Russia, winning 27-5 in their play-offs.

At the Dubai Sevens, the Ugandans celebrated their first-ever Series victory when they defeated Japan 26-19. Not involved in the Sevens Series since 2007, it brought applause at The Sevens Stadium. With more invitations like this, watch for Uganda to appear in more tournaments over the calendar.

HSBC WORLD RUGBY SEVENS SERIES STANDINGS

South Africa 22 points; Fiji 19; England 17; Wales 15; Australia 13; Scotland 12; France 10; New Zealand 10; United States 8; Samoa 7; Argentina 6; Kenya 5; Canada 3; Uganda 2; Japan 1; Russia 1.

Dubai Sevens Dream Team

The losing finalists Fiji have three boys in the team, including debutanteSetareki Bituniyata. Welsh star Ethan Davies is selected after a haul of 45 points, including five tries. And Ruaridh McConnochie is rewarded for his efforts with England, to compliment the two Blitzboks players.

HSBC Player of The Final

This was easy to pick, as he gave his all. In spite of Senatla being in the team, it was Chris Dry of England who ‘carved up’ the Fijians in the forwards. He scored a sensational try, when out-sprinting the Fijian flyers.

DHL Impact Player for Dubai

Dan Norton takes the title here in Dubai.

See the results from the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series here.

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The Sevens Series now heads to the Cape Town Sevens. With momentum, the home side will be hard to beat but expect all 16 teams to challenge. The Pools have been drawn and the match schedule looks exciting.

Follow all the results and updates from the HSBC Sevens Series here on Last Word On Rugby, with Scott Hornell and our sevens expert Jovilisi Waqa.

“Main Photo Credit”

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