HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2016-17

South Africa stun Fiji to get their World Rugby Sevens Series tilt off to a bang in Dubai

Olympic bronze medallists claim fifth title in desert state on the back of a dominant showing from Seabelo Senatla

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 December, 2016, 11:57am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 December, 2016, 9:46pm

South Africa stunned defending World Series and Olympic champions Fiji 26-14 to win the Dubai Sevens on Saturday.

It was a fifth Dubai title for South Africa who were second in the World Series last season before going on to take bronze at the Rio Olympics.

Fittingly, last season’s player of the year Seabelo Senatla scored South Africa’s last try of the final, taking his tally for the two days to 11.

England beat Wales 38-10 to claim third place.

“We just needed to stick to our game plan and structure and that’s exactly what the guys did,” said Blitzboks skipper Philip Syman.

“We never let Fiji into the game and then they were playing catch-up rugby, which I think worked to our advantage.”

South Africa scored early tries from Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez to put them in charge before Fiji captain Osea Kolinisau crossed to make it 14-7 at half-time.

Jerry Tuwai scored under the posts with the conversion bringing the scores level at 14-14 early in the second period.

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But South Africa quickly reasserted their authority with a third try of the game for player of the final Chris Dry before Senatla sealed the match.

“We can be positive going into our home tournament next weekend in Cape Town, but we need to start all over again and fix a few things that went wrong. We need to recover well over the next few days,” added Syman.

In the third-place play-off, Dan Norton scored four of England’s six tries with Richard de Carpentier and Charlie Hayter also on the scoresheet.

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Australia finished in fifth place while USA raised the men’s Challenge Trophy with a 28-14 win over Samoa, with Perry Baker’s beautiful first half chip-and-chase try raising the noise even further at the Sevens Stadium on Saturday.

The World Sevens series continues in Cape Town next weekend.