The Blitzboks were edged 12-10 by Fiji in the final of the fourth tournament on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series this past weekend, but Chris Dry (veteran forward) says this was the one that got away.
Dry, who made his 33rd appearance in a final for the Blitzboks, said one of the contributing factors to the outcome was that they did not adapt well enough to the treacherous conditions at Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta.
“That was probably our downfall, as they adapted better to the wet conditions and looked after their ball better in the rain and on the slippery field,” said Dry.
“We did not look after our possession well enough and that was the difference in the end.”
Both teams scored two tries in the final, but only Fiji managed to slot over a conversion and that proved to be the difference on the scoreboard.
Up to that point, the Blitzboks played some pretty impressive rugby, with wins over Samoa and the USA earlier in the day.
“We certainly made a huge step-up this weekend,” said Dry. “We played poorly according to our own standards in New Zealand, so the improvement in Australia was very pleasing.
“There were seven changes from the last squad, and although all were experienced players, it could have had an impact. The show in Sydney was much more in line with our standards.”
Three South Africans, JC Pretorius, Angelo Davids and Selvyn Davids were named in the tournament's dream team, and it was a particularly rewarding achievement for Angelo (winger), as he scored eight tries in five matches which featured hat-tricks against Argentina and France.
“The credit must go to my teammates though,” said Angelo Davids. “They do all the hard work on the inside and I just finish it off.
“It was a good tournament for me though and I am pleased with the way I am developing and progressing in my roles and responsibilities in the team.”
Davids was a member of the team that won the title in Singapore last year, but this final did not go the same way.
“Yes, it was disappointing, even more so because we dropped our standards in terms of our fundamentals,” he said. “Our catching and passing was not what it could be and that will always hurt, as we put in hard work to be good at that.”
He felt, however, that the squad will return stronger.
“We did not get the gold, but it was a close call and we did some good things,” said Davids. “We are getting there, and as long as we keep improving as a group and learn to trust our system even more, we will become even better.”
The next stop will be the HSBC LA Sevens at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday, 29 February and Sunday, 1 March – the newest destination on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Blitzboks milestones achieved in the HSBC Sydney Sevens:
•Cecil Afrika extended his career points-scoring record to 1445
•Branco du Preez extended his career record for conversions to 420. Du Preez (73) is also the most experienced Blitzbok in the World Series, followed by Dry (72).