Blitzboks bounce back to form as they battle to a fifth Dubai title in a row
Selvyn Davids pulled the strings as defending champions South Africa beat Argentina 12-7 in a thumping final encounter to claim their fifth straight Emirates Dubai 7s title and kick off their HSBC SVNS 2024 campaign in emphatic style.
Impi Visser had already crossed for the Blitzboks when Shilton van Wyk, player of the final in 2022, went over in the fifth minute to take the score to 12-0.
Argentina’s Matias Osadczuk cut the deficit to five points early in the second half after Ryan Oosthuizen was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle.
Rosko Specman came within inches of a spectacular score, but lost the ball — and ploughed into a steward — in the corner, as the Blitzboks held off the Argentine fightback.
With the series heading to South Africa next week, their run to the title in Dubai could not have come at a better time. Fans will be hoping they can go back to back in Cape Town next weekend.
South Africa's acting head coach Philip Snyman hailed his squad's, “amazing performances throughout the weekend”.
“We said we wanted to leave everything on the field,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what happens with the result, we wanted to look each other in the eye and have smiles on our faces.
“Even with the yellow card tonight, they really played for each other, they played for their jersey and they restored the pride in the Springbok Sevens jersey.”
Winning difficult matches is a defining characteristic of champions — and the Blitzboks set up a shot at a fifth straight title with a high-intensity 14-7 win over Fiji in Sunday's semifinal.
The defending Dubai Sevens champions had kicked off finals day — after that remarkable comeback win over New Zealand on day one — with a comfortable 24-7 quarterfinal win over Australia.
“We told ourselves that yesterday didn’t count,” Davids said after that opening victory. “We didn’t achieve anything. We knew that the first game of day two was the most difficult one and the most important one.”
Marcos Moneta scored twice as Argentina came from 14-0 down to win their quarterfinal against Samoa 21-14, and set-up a last-four match with New Zealand.
In the semifinal, evergreen 37-year-old Gaston Revol, in his 99th sevens tournament, was the try hero for Argentina as they came from behind to beat New Zealand 21-19 to reach their first final in Dubai.