South Africa’s Springbok Sevens side were crowned the Emirates Airline Dubai Seven winners with a deserved 26-14 victory over Olympic and World Series champions Fiji in the final over the weekend.
The Springboks have endured a disappointing season on the world stage in the traditional format of the game, winning only four of 12 tests during 2016 under new coach Allister Coetzee, but the sevens side remains a point of pride, with the Olympic bronze medallists consistently performing to a high standard.
This occurred once again this past weekend, with coach Neil Powell’s team brushing aside the opposition in Dubai to become champions of the first tournament of the new World Series.
Along the road to victory, the South Africans managed to beat Wales before thrashing rivals New Zealand 40-0 in the quarter-finals.
The Blitzboks, as the team is known, then did what many have failed to do, beating the Fijians thanks to excellent performances from the likes of Cecil Afrika, Branco du Preez, Seabelo Senatla and Chris Dry, producing the comfortable win that now puts the South Africans in pole position at this early stage of a busy World Series competition.
The star of the Dubai tournament for the eventual winners was most certainly Senatla, who scored an incredible 11 tries during the weekend.
Senatla was recently named World Rugby’s men’s Sevens Player of the Year at the World Rugby awards in London during November.
The South African contributed 66 tries in 10 events in the 2015-16 series – the second-highest in the 17-year history of the series – with four more coming from the 23-year-old at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The South Africans will now look ahead to their next challenge this coming weekend, when they will aim to continue their excellent form at the HSBC Cape Town Sevens which is to be played in the Cape Town Stadium on 10 and 11 December.