Australia beat Fijiana in the women’s gold medal match by 22-12, while New Zealand took bronze with a 19-12 win over Canada.
The SA Women – who faced Australia and Fijiana in their tough pool on Friday and travelled to England without a number of regulars, who were on tour with the national 15s team in Japan – finally found their groove and simply had too much class, pace and power for the never-say-die Sri Lankans.
They improved their position from the 2018 tournament on the Australian Gold Coast by one spot, which was something Paul Delport was proud of: “We don’t play against top-class opposition, and playing at these international competitions will be the only way to improve.
“Lots of lessons learnt, including a general understanding of what needs to be done at tournaments such as this one. But I was very proud of the ladies, they were incredibly brave considering six of them had never played sevens before and seven made their international debut.
“All things considered, I’m happy as we got incrementally better and our understanding of the game has improved, which will only happen by playing at this level.”
Liske Lategan scored a first-half hat-trick, while Felicia Jacobs and Zandile Masuku also crossed the whitewash for the South Africans before the break to hand them a 33-0 lead as the teams swapped sides, with Donelle Snyders converting four of the five tries.
Lategan's first two tries came from mistakes by Sri Lanka - a turnover and a loose pass - while Masuku rounded off a move that included a clever kick-pass, just like the Blitzboks have been doing with great success in Birmingham.
Sri Lanka did well to stop the green wave early in the second half, but in the last few minutes of the game, Masuku added a second try to her tally, before Jacobs scored twice in the final two minutes to also grab a hat-trick. Nontuthuko Shongwe added two conversions to push the SA Women past 50 points.
SA Women 52 (33) - Tries: Liske Lategan (3), Felicia Jacobs (3), Zandile Masuku (2). Conversions: Donelle Snyders (4), Nontuthuko Shongwe (2).
Sri Lanka 0