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Blitzboks fourth in Sydney after going down to Fiji

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By Mark Etheridge

South Africa’s Blitzboks had to settle for fourth spot in Sydney on Sunday, going down 26-12 to arch-rivals Fiji in the third-fourth place play-off.
Earlier in the day they’d whitewashed Argentina 26-0 before going down to the host nation, 12-7 in the Cup semi-final.
Going into the Fiji game, the Blitzbokked had trailed 23-38 in terms of head-to-head encounters.
But they would have been buoyed by that 31-0 whitewash of Fiji in last week’s Wellington semi-final.
Counting against them however was the fact that captain Philip Snyman had not recovered sufficiently from a wrist injury against Scotland and then another crucial blow came when Kwagga Smith was suspended for the Fiji game after a high tackle against Australian Henry Speight.
The Fijians flew out of the blocks and it took three minutes before the Blitzboks actually passed the ball!
And it was just 20 sec later thought that Fiji scored first through Jerry Tuwai for a seven-pointer and he then went off injured.
With just over a minute to play there were more woes for Neil Powell’s South Africans as playmaker Rosco Speckman was yellow-carded and the Fijians rammed home a double hammer blow through two tries through the impressive Osea Kolinisau, the last after the hooter had sounded and at 21-0.
The Blitzboks had a mountain to climb but to their credit bounced back early with big Dylan Sage showing a lovely dummy before going over down the left. And when they scored immediately after the kick-off through Sandile Ngcobo after the Fijians had knocked back from the kick-off, there was big hope!
But the missed conversion meant that the Boks were still two scores away and all hope was lost when Savenaca Rawaca scored a wonder try from almost on their own line, aided by a few more missed Blitzboks tackle.
Rawaca was then yellow-carded to give the Blitzboks more opportunity but after some patient work and with a try looking on the cards it was Sandile Ngcobo who couldn’t hold on to the final pass and that was that for the South Africans.
South Africa did have some representation in the final as Rasta Rasivhenge took charge of the final which saw New Zealand once again steal a win at the death, beating Australia 27-24.
Sydney results now see the South Africans sharing first spot on the series standings with Fiji and New Zealand, all locked on 69 points.
The series now moves to Las Vegas, US on 4-6 March.


1 comments
Ester Beukes
Ester Beukes

Thanks for playing entertaining games although I am on pins and needles with every match......thankful that no one else got hurt against these physical teams..