SOUTH Africa collected 17 World Series log points yesterday after they defeated Samoa 26-5 to finish third at the Hong Kong Sevens tournament.
The Springbok Sevens now have a two-point lead (110 points) at the top of the standings after Fiji outplayed New Zealand by 33-19 to lift the Cup.
The tournament win moved Fiji into second spot, just one ahead of third-placed New Zealand.
The top four teams on the league table at the end of the season qualify for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio.
The teams will be in action in Japan this weekend where they will play in the Tokyo Sevens on Saturday and Sunday.
The Blitz Boks staged a good comeback in their Cup semifinal against Fiji. But, unfortunately, it was not good enough and they suffered a 21-15 loss.
Fiji raced into a 21-0 lead at half time after they staged a typical attacking blitzkrieg which saw them score three converted tries.
Jerry Kunatani, Pio Tuwai and Tuwai Vunisa all scored for Fiji to hand their team a 21-0 half-time lead.
South Africa came out fighting in the second half and finally managed to get their hands on the ball.
Cecil Afrika, Frankie Horne and speedster Seabelo Senatla were the scorers for South Africa, who managed to cut the lead to 21-15. The three missed conversion kicks proved to be crucial in the end.
Earlier, the team qualified for the semifinals after grinding out a hard-fought 7-5 win over Australia in their quarterfinal encounter. Werner Kok scored the winning try after Jesse Parahi had given the Aussies the lead with an unconverted try.
Afterwards Kyle Brown said the team did well to bounce back against Samoa after their narrow defeat to Fiji.
“We got up to play for some crucial points and I am glad the boys got a good win over Samoa. We came close against Fiji, but we have to stop giving them such a head start.
“Now we must prepare for Tokyo, get a good week of training behind us and stage another good challenge.”
With three more rounds remaining, the top four teams on the World Series standings are: 1 South Africa 110 points; 2 Fiji 108; 3 New Zealand 107; 4 Australia 84.