Saturday, May 30, 2009

South Africa clinches Sevens World Series

A good day for South African rugby. We are now the 15-man World Champs, Sevens World Champs and Super 14 Champs. The first and only country to do so. If we could add the Tri-Nations to our tally, it will be even more impressive.

South Africa clinch sevens rugby world series with win over New Zealand

Scotland — South Africa clinched its first sevens rugby world series as it swept its pool with a win over defending champion New Zealand at the Edinburgh Sevens on Saturday.

South Africa needed only one more point to secure an unassailable lead in the overall standings from England, the only other series contender at Murrayfield.

But the Africans clinched the series title by defeating France 33-10 and the United States 34-5 and reaching the quarter-finals. They then met unbeaten New Zealand for the top of Pool A. New Zealand, the eight-time winner in the series' 10-year history, knocked out South Africa in last week's London Sevens semifinals, helping to delay the Africans' crowning, but missed a conversion on Saturday as South Africa prevailed 14-12.

"It's an unimaginable feeling for me, I can only imagine how the players are feeling," said Paul Treu, the South Africa coach and former captain.

"I don't think the guys even realize what they've achieved. Maybe when they're sitting at home when they're old and looking back on their careers, this is going to be one of the highlights."

South Africa won the first two legs in Dubai and at home, but was tied with England after four events. The Africans broke clear with a runner-up finish in Hong Kong then won in Adelaide to be all but certain of series success.

England, winner of its home tournament last weekend, failed to advance from its pool, losing to host Scotland 33-17 for only the second time, and Kenya 21-14. Kenya edged Scotland 22-17 to top Pool C unbeaten and line up a quarter-final against Wales on Sunday.

Scotland will meet Samoa, after the latter swept Georgia, Wales and Argentina to top Pool D. Wales routed Georgia 50-7 to edge Argentina for the second quarter-final berth on points difference.

Osea Kolinisau's late try helped Fiji squeeze past Australia 26-19 and win Pool B undefeated. Fiji will meet New Zealand in the quarter-finals for the second straight event, while Australia, after wins over London quarter-finalist Portugal and Spain, will play South Africa.

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