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Rugby | Sevens

Branco Du Preez © Gallo Images

Heartbreak as Blitzboks finish out of medals

It was heartbreak all around as the South African Sevens team not only saw their defence of their Commonwealth Games title slip away, but did not even finish in the medals as they lost a bronze medal match to England.

The Blitzboks’ plan to rest their players ahead of the Commonwealth Games backfired as Fiji – who sent their strongest to Hong Kong and won the tournament – scored in extra time in the semifinal to beat the Blitzboks through a try by Amenoni Nasilanasila.

And then in the bronze match the Blitzboks led 14-0 at the break, only to have a sloppy second half and watch as England’s Tom Mitchell scored the winning try and they went down 21-14 to finish out of the medals.

It was a disappointing day all round – especially in the semifinal where the Blitzboks started badly but fought back to 19-all, forcing extra time against the Fijians.

But in the end, they could not contain the Olympic champions.

The physical toll of extra time may have been at play as well, as the first half in the bronze medal match went a full four minutes over time, and when England scored from the restart, the Blitzboks looked jaded, while England were buoyant.

Branco Du Preez’ early score and Ruhan Nel’s first half effort were all they had to show for the game, with England celebrating an unlikely bronze after their second-half effort.

Rosco Speckman scored twice and Dylan Sage got the equaliser for the Blitzboks in the game against Fiji.


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