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Blitzboks win Dubai 7s

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu
Monday, December 04, 2017

The Blitzboks dazzled past Fiji and then drilled the All Blacks to win the Dubai 7s title.

The brilliant Boks faced their sternest test of the tournament against Fiji.

Despite the fourth finish our boys deserve accolades for putting up a lion's performance. From day one, statistics favoured the series champion and tournament favourites.

Laced with experience in Kwagga and Senatla, fresh from their Super Rugby venture, Kok, Kyle, Nel, Snyman, Preez, Afrika, Geduld, Specman and Dry, Africa showed pure power to shrug off Fiji, which also faced Kok and Senatla who won the Best WRSS Player of the Year Awards in 2015 and 16 and a team, which had set the 2016-17 WRSS by winning in Dubai, Wellington, Sydney, Las Vegas and Paris.

In pool play and in the quarters, Fiji was impressive against Russia, Wales, Australia and Scotland.

Building up to the tenacious semi-final clash, Fiji held the edge in winning records against the Boks 41-30.

Africa averaged 447 appearances compared with Fiji's 137 and boasted an average of 36 tournaments per player.

Dubai has been a happy hunting ground for the Boks having won there in 2003, '06, '08, 2014 and last year. While the Boks managed two soft tries in the first-half, our boys held them scoreless in the second-half.

I guess we left it too late and the surge in the dying seconds put extra pressure on our boys, who faltered and knocked on to thwart our chances of glory.

Our last throw of the dice failed and bang, headache and heartache for Fijians! The Boks showed tactical awareness, were clinical in support play and made us buckle under pressure by exposing our weak link and stretching our defence thin.

An important feature of winning 7s tournaments is defence and the Blitzboks exactly did that while we made mistakes going into tackles.

Against the darlings of England, Fiji could not maintain its slender lead in the early parts of the match and allowed the Englishmen back into the game.

Two heavyweights in Fiji and England went punch to punch in a heavy contest as our boys structured their breakdown and almost pulled off a third place finish.

I guess it was just not our day. But a lot of positives can be taken from Dubai as our heroes head off to Cape Town, pooled alongside arch rivals Samoa, Singapore 7s 2017 champions Canada and the ever gentle Dragons. Thank you so much boys for the sacrifice and effort! We now look forward to the African leg in the WRSS and hopes are high for another round of Fijian magic and delight!

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