With a strong contingent of Olympians in their squad, the Blitzboks went into the opening round of the HSBC Canada Sevens at BC Place as one of the favourites to lift the trophy and they lived up to their star billing with some scintillating rugby throughout, capped by a record 38-5 win over Kenya in the final.
It was the most points scored by any team in a Series Cup final in Canada and included six tries to take their overall tally to 38 for the tournament – again, a new high.
Try poacher extraordinaire, Angelo Davids, was responsible for 10 of them, becoming the first player to hit double figures for a single tournament in Canada and the first to score 10 tries in a Series event since France’s Terry Bouhraoua at Cape Town in 2017.
The first all-African Cup final since Adelaide in 2008, and only the second in series history, began with Kenya failing to deal with the kick-off and good field position for South African to work Davids into space for the first of his two tries on the night.
Continuing to be dogged by handling errors, Kenya struggled to get into the game and Davids doubled his tally when he intercepted a pass 20 metres out. A trademark powerful run by Alvin Otieno temporarily lifted the Shujaa but the Blitzboks remained in control of possession and added further tries through Sakoyisa Makata and Christie Grobbelaar to claim a 24-0 half time lead.
Another turnover at the start of the second period proved costly for Kenya as Ronald Brown capitalised to score his sixth try of the tournament, one fewer than Otieno who had a big hand in Kenya’s only try of the final when he attracted the attention of three defenders to open up space for Daniel Taabu to cross.
Fittingly though, it was South Africa who had the final word when Darren Adonis touched down late on.
Meanwhile, Great Britain claimed the Bronze Medal on their Series debut after a 24-14 win against Ireland. The teams had drawn 7-7 in the pool stages but the result of the rematch was never really in doubt after Great Britain raced into a 17-0 lead thanks to tries from Frederick Roddick, Calum Randle and the all-action Paddy Kelly.
Ireland went into the third-place decider missing three of their key players – Mark Roche, Bryan Mollen and Ed Kelly – through injury, but they fought back to score through Liam Turner on the stroke of half time.
Defending a 17-7 lead, Great Britain managed the game clock effectively while Robbie Fergusson was in the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on, keeping Ireland at bay during those two minutes. Randle then crossed for a second time before Ireland signed off with a try for Sean Kearns. (Agencies)