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Friday, September 30, 2022

Golden Blitzboks cut Fiji down to size to claim Commonwealth Games glory

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Cape Town – That’s as close to perfect as it gets!

The Springbok Sevens team, the Blitzboks, produced a breathtaking rugby masterclass to annihilate Fiji 31-7 in the final of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The Blitzboks’ win in the final was Team South Africa’s fourth gold medal of the Games and second on the night after swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker successfully defended her 200m breaststroke title.

As any Sevens fan would know, defeating Fiji is one thing, but completely overwhelming them in the way Neil Powell’s unit did is a rarity.

The Blitzboks, disrupted by injuries and without their regular skipper Siviwe Soyizwapi, were absolutely fantastic and never looked like they were going to come off second best.

They made all the play in the first half, depriving the double Olympian champions of any possession with clinical tackling and fighting for the ball on the ground. Their attack was also ruthless, speeding the game up and finishing their chances.

The reigning Series champions opened the scoring with a stunning try by speedster Muller du Plessis, who gathered the ball to score in the corner after a top cross kick by Selvyn Davids, whose kicking was superb throughout the weekend.

The conversion from wide was just as sweet, and JC Pretorius grabbed their second five-pointer in the same corner with 90 seconds to go in the first half.

There was enough time for the SA side to add another try, with Pretorius winning a brilliant turnover on the ground before Shaun Williams ran in their third to take the halftime score to 17-0.

Du Plessis completed his brace with a converted score to go early in the second half to give the Blitzboks a 24-0 cushion.

Fiji finally Fiji got their first try after the Blitzboks lost a lineout with three minutes to go to give them some hope.

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However, South Africa responded with their fifth and final try through Mfundo Ndhlovu to cap off a sublime performance and win their first Commonwealth Games gold medal since 2014.

New Zealand claimed the bronze medal.

@WynonaLouw

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