(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) This time again, it was for Africa. South Africa put their skates on to race past New Zealand to defend their Dubai Rugby Sevens title on Saturday night.
Like last year against Fiji, the Blitzboks served up yet another masterclass to beat the All Blacks Sevens 24-12 in the final at The Sevens Stadium.
It was their sixth title in Dubai after winning it in 2003, 2006, 2008, 2014 as well as last year.
It was like watching a highlights reel with captain Philip Snyman putting the Blitzboks on the road with the first try on two minutes after which Branco du Preez converted. Seabelo Senatla, last year's World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year, added cushion to that lead on four minutes but Preez missed the conversion.
Preez, though, made amends with a successful conversion after Kwagga Smith had scored a try. South had run up a 19-0 lead going into the break but New Zealand came back regrouped to cut that deficit.
Andrew Knewstubb scored a try and a conversion to put the All Blacks Sevens on the board. Scott Curry slashed that further with a try as they reduced the gap to seven points. But Knewstubb missed the conversion.
Tim Agaba then put daylight between the Blitzboks and the All Blacks Sevens with a try and although Justin Geduld missed the conversion, the South African kept possession to play out time.
Meanwhile, England took the bronze by defeating Fiji 28-21. Will Edwards made a hat-trick of conversions, while Tom Bowen had a brace of tries. Amenoni Nasilasila scored two conversions for Fiji.
Earlier, in what was a repeat of last year's final, South Africa turned it on against Olympic champions Fiji, to win their semifinal 12-7. Cecil Afrika scored a try and a conversion, while Senatla, had one try.
Jerry Tuwai had a try and Amenoni Nasilasila made a conversion for Fiji.
Later, in another low-scoring affair, New Zealand got the better of England 14-5, in a thrilling semifinal. Joe Ravouvou and Andrew Knewstubb scored a brace of tries for the All Blacks Sevens. Ruaridh McConnochie scored the lone try for the 'Red Rose.'
Meanwhile, South Africa were up and running in no time, with Afrika giving them the lead in the first minute. But it was by no means easy as Kwagga Smith was cornered just at the line but Afrika latched on to the ball and went clear. But Afrika though, was to miss the conversion.
The Blitzboks kept possession and didn't give Fiji a whiff of a chance. With just over a minute remaining in the half, Senatla sped away to score their second try and Afrika got it right this time with the conversion as the South Africans led 12-0.
With just 43 seconds left on the clock, Tuwai made a try and Nasilasila converted but it came a tad too late for Fiji.
In the other semifinal, England had got off to a good start with McConnochie putting them up on the board on two minutes. But captain Tom Mitchell went on to miss the conversion.
New Zealand levelled it after half-time through Ravouvou and Knewstubb made the conversion to give the All Blacks Sevens the lead.
Ravouvou and Knewstubb then wrapped it up with another try and conversion, in the final minute.
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