South Africa won the 2013 USA 7s Cup with a dominant display over series leaders New Zealand.
South Africa capped a 6-0 weekend with a 40-21 victory over the All Black 7s that wasn't that close.
The Blitzbokke thumped into the All Black 7s players to loosen the ball after kickoff, and then South Africa just rammed through the line where Warren Whiteley picked and dove for a 7-0 lead after less than 90 seconds.
Another high kick for South Africa on the restart pinned New Zealand back again.
This time the All Black 7s figured it out and worked their way forward. Tomasi Cama spotted a gap out of fractured play, but the South African pursuit was there, with interest. Tim Mikkelson made a half break, but ultimately New Zealand was guilty of holding onto the ball in the ruck, and South Africa was back on the front foot. No sooner did they get the ball back then they were in the New Zealand 22.
Bulling ahead with Frankie Horne and with Branco du Preez sidestepping out of difficulty, they camped in the corner. Then out of a ruck Paul Delport sent a sublime long, flat pass to an onrushing Chris Dry. New Zealand could only watch him hit the gap and go in under the posts. 14-0 South Africa.
It was all about the passing on the next movement, passing and physical defense. The latter jarred the ball loose for the Blitzbokke, and out of another big tackle, this one by New Zealand’s Mikkelson, the gaps opened up.
South Africa’s Horne then sent a laser pass 30 meters to du Preez, who had no one in front of him. He took the gap, sidestepped Cama in the sweeper position, and gleefully galloped in under the posts. Just like that, 21-0 South Africa.
South Africa’s chase on the restart was on point and New Zealand gave the ball up again. A penalty for tackling the man without the ball by Warwick Lahmert got the Blitzbokke going again, and Dry bulled over from short range. Du Preez’s conversion sailed over for an improbable 28-0 lead at halftime.
New Zealand got to kick off for the first time at the beginning of the second half, and hoped to win the ball going forward. That didn’t happen. South Africa took it and attacked. Dry looked to be over, but was caught just short. But as he tried to pass back to his support a New Zealand foot knocked the ball from his hand and in-goal. Quick to the mark was du Preez, who dove over to touch down, and the flyhalf converted to make it 35-0.
The All Black 7s needed some possession, badly, and finally kept the ball long enough for Ben Lam to steamroll his tackler and race in from halfway. 35-7.
But South Africa couldn’t let them get any momentum, and du Preez fed Stephan Dippenaar from the floor and the big man did the rest, fending his tackler and running 50 meters for the try.
The game was over then at 40-7, but New Zealand did not fold. Mikkelson weaved his way in from 35, and then immediately afterward, Gillies Kaka was in at the corner. Rocky Khan calmly slammed over the conversion to make it suddenly 40-21.
But there wasn’t enough time for the stunning comeback. All South Africa had to do was run out the clock, and when Lam was sin-binned for a needless tackle off the ball, it was essentially done.
One more lineout, and Dry booted the ball 25 rows deep and that was it.
New Zealand were dominated in a way that fans rarely see. In a tournament that showed how hard it is to repeat success two weeks in a row – England and Kenya struggled after being 1st and 2nd a week before – New Zealand stood tall for the entire weekend, until the end, where they just seemed to lose a little gas.
South Africa, the most physical and smartest team in the tournament, deserved to win.
South Africa 40
Tries: Dry 2, Whiteley, du Preez 2, Dippenaar
Convs: du Preez 5
New Zealand 21
Tries: Kaka, Mikkelson, Lam
Convs: Khan 3