Blitzbokke take third as Fiji win Gold Coast Sevens

Stephan Dippenaar (bottom right) tackles Fiji's Manueli Taubale Lagai (top right) as Cecil Afrika looks on at Skilled Park on October 14. (Patrick Hamilton, AFP)

Stephan Dippenaar (bottom right) tackles Fiji's Manueli Taubale Lagai (top right) as Cecil Afrika looks on at Skilled Park on October 14. (Patrick Hamilton, AFP)

Blitzbokke coach Paul Treu said he was pleased with the team's overall performance, especially their ability to execute their new attacking approach.

"We only lost one game and that was against the eventual winners, but apart from that we really played well," Treu said.

"Ruwellyn Isbell and Reuben Johannes made their national debuts while Tshotsho Mbovane also made a comeback after a long absence.

"Going into the tournament, I was a bit worried about our fitness levels because we had so many players coming back from injury."

The Fijians successfully defended their tournament title by beating New Zealand 32-14 in the final at Skilled Park.

The Blitzbokke can, however, take plenty of positives from their encouraging performances during the opening round of the Sevens World Series in Brisbane.

Kyle Brown's team qualified for the Cup semifinals thanks to a solid 26-14 victory over France before losing their only match of the two-day event against the outstanding young Fijians.

All the teams now head to Dubai where the second round of the World Series will take place on November 30 and December 1.

The victory means Fiji collect 22 series points to sit top of the standings, ahead of New Zealand (19), South Africa (17) and Kenya (15).

Earlier, Argentina beat France 14-7 to win the Plate, while Spain edged England to lift the Bowl and hat-tricks from Michael Fedo and James Fleming helped Scotland to the Shield.

Despite the disappointing loss against the tournament winners, the Blitzbokke can be proud of their attacking display over the two days which saw them scoring 28 tries, the most by any team.

Powerhouse wing Cornal Hendricks, who made an impressive debut in the previous World Series season, continued his good form by scoring eight tries at the Gold Coast, which made him a joint top-try scorer. He made an impact with his pace and power and managed to score three times each against Canada in the pool stages and Kenya in the play-off for third place.

The Blitzbokke were drawn in Pool C of the Dubai Sevens, sharing a pool with Dubai crowd favourites England, Samoa and Portugal.

"There was a real desire to play good attacking rugby and now we must keep this form in Dubai, where we will have a tough pool to navigate," Treu said. - Sapa


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