Blitzboks stay in lead in World Series
March 12, 2017
South Africa reached a sixth consecutive final of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series on Sunday at the HSBC Canada Sevens in Vancouver and maintained their strong overall series lead, despite going doing to England 19-7.

The Blitzboks started the tournament, the second of the North American leg of the World Series, 24 points ahead of Fiji in second place.

They now return to South Africa on Wednesday 23 points ahead of England, who has moved into second spot on the overall log.

The lead over Fiji, current series champions and Olympic Gold medallists, is now 26 points with four tournaments remaining in the 2016/17 series.

The Blitzboks, who lost Justin Geduld and Stephan Dippenaar before the start of the tournament in BC Place Stadium, also had to take the field in the final without Branco du Preez, who injured a pectoral muscle early on Sunday and lost Rosko Specman during the match itself due to a leg injury.

The influential Specman and forward Chris Dry was afterwards named in the Vancouver Dream Team.

In the final, they took the lead early through a try by Siviwe Soyizwapi, but then missed a couple of opportunities to put England away. The English, who also beat the Blitzboks in the HSBC Cape Town Sevens final in December, scored just before the break to level matters and twice in the second half to secure a second tournament title of the series.

A brilliant try-saving tackle by Werner Kok earlier in the day secured the Blitzboks their sixth straight finals berth.

The South African side beat USA 14-10 in an epic semifinal, with the result only determined in the last play of the match, with Kok holding up an opponent who looked set to score the winning try.

Tries by Philip Snyman and Specman, both brilliantly converted by Cecil Afrika, proved decisive.

Earlier on Sunday, the Blitzboks pulled away from Canada in the Cup quarterfinals.

The Blitzboks beat the hosts 36-7 to book a place in the last four of the tournament. Soyizwapi scored a hat-trick with Afrika, Dry and Specman adding the other five pointers.

•Afrika was the leading try-scorer for the Blitzboks with 21 points, followed by Soyizwapi and Specman who both scored four tries (20 points). Afrika also extended his overall national points' scoring record to 1204, ninth on the all-time world list.

•Philip Snyman was one of the leading tacklers in the tournament (20), closely followed by Dylan Sage (18).

The top five teams on the log after six tournaments are:

1. South Africa 126
2. England 103
3. Fiji 100
4. New Zealand 84
5. USA 67

Vodacom Super Rugby
Friday, March 31 2017
08:35 - Highlanders vs Rebels
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Saturday, April 01 2017
06:15 - Blues vs Force
Eden Park, Auckland
08:35 - Chiefs vs Vodacom Bulls
FMG Stadium, Hamilton
10:45 - Reds vs Hurricanes
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
15:05 - DHL Stormers vs Toyota Cheetahs
DHL Newlands, Cape Town
17:15 - Emirates Lions vs Cell C Sharks
Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Sunday, April 02 2017
08:05 - Waratahs vs Crusaders
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International
Monday, April 03 2017
16:45 - FNB Maties vs FNB UJ
Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch
19:00 - FNB Tuks vs FNB Shimlas
Tuks Stadium, Pretoria
Vodacom Super Rugby
Friday, April 07 2017
09:35 - Hurricanes vs Waratahs
Westpac Stadium, Wellington

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