PARIS, France, June 11 (ANA) – The 23-year-old livewire Dewald Human was the stand-out performer for the Blitzboks who clinched a second consecutive HSBC World Rugby Sevens title in Paris on Sunday.
Human, 23, in the team for the injured Branco du Preez, only made his debut two months ago in Hong Kong.
He was again in try-scoring form in the final and was delighted to be voted Player of the Final.
“It’s been a fantastic experience here in Paris. I backed myself and just enjoyed every minute on the field. We stuck to the game plan and are very happy with the win.”
South Africa captain Philip Snyman added: “We wanted to go out and play some fantastic rugby and focus on what we could control.
“The guys played phenomenal rugby and all credit to the team. We just did the simple stuff and played with smiles on our faces today.
“It’s an amazing feeling representing our country and the people back home never stopped believing in us and supporting us.”
The victory in Paris, where the Blitzboks also won last year, saw Neil Powell’s team move past Fiji on the overall standings and retain their champions’ status.
Fiji held a seven-point lead before the final tournament, but they faltered on the second day by losing in the quarterfinals to England.
This opened a small window of opportunity to the Blitzboks, which they took in dominant fashion, sealing the double-victory with a magnificent 24-14 victory in the final against England.
Powell was humbled by his team’s achievement but heaped praise on their effort on the final day of an eight-month, 10 tournament series.
“We were graced here today,” said Powell.
“You have to feel for Fiji, who won five tournaments, only to come up short by two points in the end, but this is also a massive reward to our Springbok Sevens and SA Rugby Sevens Academy system.
“There are so many people working so hard for this team and the squad here today rewarded all of them.”
Powell paid tribute to the 28 players used, management and all the support structures back in South Africa: “We do this for more than ourselves. The support from back home is incredible and we find support all over the world, we want to thank all.
“This is a massive credit to our system and we are all very proud to be part of it,” Powell said.
The Blitzboks qualified for each of the 10 semifinals during the series.
They won in Dubai and Paris and were runners-up in Sydney, Hamilton and London. They won bronze in Cape Town, Vancouver and Hong Kong and placed fourth in Las Vegas and Singapore.
South Africa finished the series on top with 182 points, followed by Fiji who took silver with 180 points and New Zealand in third on 150 positions after claiming the bronze medal in Paris with a 38-5 victory over Canada in the third-place play-off.
All attention now turns to the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco from July 20-22, where 24 men’s and 16 women’s teams will battle it out to become world champions over three days. – African News Agency (ANA)