Blitzboks lose quarters but are assured of Olympics qualification

Blitzboks lose quarters but are assured of Olympics qualification

Fiji ran away with the London tournament in the World Rugby Sevens Series when they cantered home 43-7 against Australia in the very one-sided Twickenham final.

In the previous tournament, in Singapore, Fiji were 19-0 up at halftime but lost the match to an unbelievable comeback by the Blitzboks who won 20-19.

But there was no such luck for the Aussies or a repeat chance for South Africa. The Blitzboks, so good and at times brilliant on Saturday in their pool round, were eliminated in the quarterfinal when they went down to Australia on Sunday and had to settle for a shared seventh place..

That put paid to any slim chance the Blitzboks had of a move up to third spot on the standings, but at least their automatic qualification for the 2020 Olympic games not only remained intact but actually improved.

Their 10 points earned for an eventual tied seventh place on Saturday were much better than the two points England earned when they went down to Japan for the first time in the World Rugby Sevens series with the score 29-14 in Japan’s favour. England finished 14th in their home tournament.

That now gives the Blitzboks an advantage of 22 log points that England have to make up next week in Paris but which cannot be overtaken, even should England win the Paris title.

♦ In the quarterfinal against Australia the Blitzboks went down 22-29 after trailing 12-17 at halftime and then 12-29 two minutes after the restart.

Two very late tries by Muller du Plessis and JC Pretorius when it was far too late ensured the Australians an unexpected but deserved win.

♦ In the semi-final for fifth place the Blitzboks lost 17-21 through a last-gasp try by New Zealand who went on to beat Ireland 35-14 in the final for fifth position. Earlier Ireland had beaten Canada 33-14 in their semi-final for the fifth-place final.

♦ The third place and bronze medal went to the USA who beat France 31-14 after the other quarterfinal results went to France (19-14 against New Zealand), Fiji (33-24 against Ireland) and 29-14 (USA vs Canada)

♦ In the semi-finals Australia beat France 31-24 and Fiji beat the USA 17-10.