The unbeaten UK display by the Springboks was a great motivator for the South African Sevens team in Dubai, the Sevens’ captain Mzwandile Stick said on Saturday night after his team won the Emirates Airline Dubai Tournament final against England.
The Springbok Sevens beat an impressive England 19-12 in an exciting Cup final, Ryno Benjamin scoring the winning try with 20 seconds to go on the clock. Earlier in the evening SA beat Fiji to reach the final while England, who looked very strong early on, knocked out defending champions New Zealand.
Stick, who was the hero of the semifinal thriller against Fiji when he landed a sensational drop goal in sudden death, revealed afterwards that the world champion Springboks played a big part in their pre-tournament motivation. Springbok coach Peter de Villiers also presented the Bok Seven players with their match jerseys on Thursday and he attended all their matches.
“South African rugby is doing very well at the moment. The Springboks won the World Cup last year and they returned unbeaten from their UK tour. They are our inspiration and we were determined to play well for our country,” explained Stick.
His sensational drop kick against Fiji was a fantastic match-winning effort. “I was thinking about it as we lined up and I’m just glad I struck it well. Everyone deserved credit for a fantastic team effort,” added the captain.
Paul Treu, the SA coach, said his team was confident throughout. “Our preparation was really good and the players all contributed superbly. Although this is a new-look team, we still have a couple of players who won here in 2006 and who were part of our success early this year in Adelaide.
“We were committed in defence and really took our chances at key moments,” said the SA coach.
Benjamin, who returned fulltime to the squad this year, described the win in Dubai as an amazing feeling.
“We fought for every ball, especially against Fiji. When Gio (Aplon) passed the ball to me in the goal area I was so determined not to let go of it. Now we hope for a good performance in George in front of our own fans,” said Benjamin.
The victory in Dubai was the teams’ third success in the desert city (previous wins were in 2003 and 2006) and South Africa’s ninth IRB Series tournament title overall. SA ended second behind runway winners New Zealand on the 2007/08 Series log.
Content courtesy of News 24.
Image credit AJB