Sensational comeback makes Blitzboks champs in LA

rugby02 March 2020 03:39| © SuperSport
By:Brenden Nel

The Springbok Sevens team came back from 19-0 down against their nemesis Fiji to pull off an unbelievable 29-24 victory in extra time to claim the Los Angeles Sevens crown.

The Blitzboks were sensational as they first shut out New Zealand 17-0 in the semifinals before pulling off one of the biggest comebacks in Sevens history to shock the South Sea Islanders.

Branco du Preez scored a crucial try after the buzzer to level the scores and then Sakoyisa Makata got the winner in the sudden death phase to cap an amazing weekend for the Blitzboks team.

Fiji started like a house on fire and scored three early tries without reply through Vilimoni Botitu, Sevuloni Mocenacagi and Napolioni Bolaca to lead 19-0 after just five minutes of the final and looked as if they had the Blitzboks number once again and were cruising to another title.

But then something changed. Stedman Gans opened the second half by crossing the line to give the Blitzboks hope, but with still a long way to go, and Fiji looking dominant it seemed so far away.

Selvyn Davids capitalised on some Fijian indiscipline to put the Blitzboks into double figures but Fiji seemed to still have enough in the tank when sevens master Jerry Tuwai went over to make it 24-12.

With the clock ticking down a marked shift in momentum started becoming apparent and the Blitzboks made full use of this as Chris Dry went over late in the game to give them a chance.

And after some sustained pressure Du Preez found a hole and scored after the buzzer, sending the game into extra time.

The Blitzboks had Fiji on the rack but looked tied up in midfield when Muller du Plessis got the ball to Dry, who changed direction and the extra burst of pace from Kurt-Lee Arendse was enough to send Makata into enough space to beat the tackle and score an exceptional try to start the celebrations and claim a sensational comeback victory.

Captain Stedman Gans claimed a well-deserved Player of the final award.

Earlier it was a brace of tries from Angelo Davids and another from Werner Kok that shut out New Zealand 17-0 to put the Blitzboks into the final on the back of some excellent defensive work.

The win takes the Blitzboks up to second on the overall HSBC World Sevens Series standings, just four points behind leaders New Zealand now as teams move to Vancouver for the next round this coming weekend.