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Monday, January 30, 2023

Shilton van Wyk stars as Blitzboks rule Dubai Sevens for the fourth time in a row

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Cape Town — The Blitzboks are the ultimate kings of Dubai!

The Springboks produced their best performance of the weekend to beat Ireland 21-5 in the Dubai Sevens Cup final on Saturday night to secure their fourth consecutive title at the UAE event.

The South Africans won the tournament in 2019, and following the Covid-19 lockdown they were triumphant in both 2021 editions.

After their disappointing performance at the Hong Kong Sevens last month, where they won just once in five matches, the Blitzboks engineered a remarkable turnaround in Dubai that would have delighted new coach Sandler Ngcobo.

They lost their Dubai opener to Great Britain as well, but after Pool A victories over Kenya and Australia, they saw off Samoa in the quarter-finals and New Zealand in the semi-finals.

And it was an inspired display in the title decider against the Irish.

Youngster Shilton van Wyk – who replaced the injured Dewald Human in the final – sparked the South Africans into life by showcasing his electric pace to open the scoring.

Van Wyk grabbed the second as well to put the Blitzboks into a 14-0 lead.

Ireland eventually managed to put a few phases together, but just when they thought that they would breach the defence, SA captain Siviwe Soyizwapi swooped in to intercept a long pass and race all the way to the tryline.

A 21-0 lead, with three successful conversions from debutant Ricardo Duarttee, ensured that the Blitzboks just needed to stay strong in defence in the second half.

Ireland tried hard to get behind the SA defence, and even though Jack Kelly broke through on the right to score, that was their only success on the night.

The Blitzboks played with much greater physicality in the final, and hounded the Irish at the breakdowns and won a number of penalties.

The South Africans will celebrate long into the Dubai night before heading home for next weekend’s Cape Town Sevens.

Points-Scorers

South Africa 21 – Tries: Shilton van Wyk (2), Siviwe Soyizwapi. Conversions: Ricardo Duarttee (3).

Ireland 5 – Try: Jack Kelly.

@ashfakmohamed

IOL Sport

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