INSPIRED by the in-form Seabelo Senatla, the Springbok Sevens defeated Kenya 38-14 in the Plate final of the Marriot London Sevens at Twickenham to finish the HSBC Sevens World Series in second place behind New Zealand.
The speedster was in superb form, and his three tries against Kenya were in fact his second hat- trick of the day after he led his team to a thrilling 24-17 comeback victory against Samoa in the semifinals. He finished the tournament as the top try-scorer after collecting an impressive 13 tries over two days.
The Springbok Sevens were missing Kyle Brown, Cecil Afrika and Stephan Dippenaar, while Werner Kok also suffered a leg injury on Sunday.
South Africa lost 32-5 against rivals New Zealand in the quarterfinals and had to dig deep against Samoa, who led 17-0 at half time. However, the hat-trick by Senatla and a try by Philip Snyman paved the way for a Plate final showdown with Kenya.
Kenya defeated South Africa in the Plate semis last week in Scotland and they were in no mood to suffer a similar defeat yesterday.
Senatla opened the scoring and he was quickly followed by Kwagga Smith and Frankie Horne, enabling the Blitzboks to enjoy a half-time lead of 19-7. Senatla then scored a quick brace after the break, while Jamba Ulengo also added his name to the scorers’ list.
Afterwards, Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell said he was proud of the way his team had fought back after their loss to New Zealand. “We set high standards for ourselves and the players wanted to show they could play much better,” he said. “We showed good fighting spirit against Samoa after a poor first half. Against Kenya we controlled the match from the start and scored a deserved win.”
Powell, in his first full season in charge, led the Blitzboks to two Cup titles – in Port Elizabeth and Las Vegas – and his outfit also played in five consecutive Cup finals. New Zealand won the HSBC Sevens World Series title for a fourth consecutive year after finishing the season on 180 points.
The Springbok Sevens finished second on 152 points.