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History-making Senatla helps Blitzboks win Wellington title

Blitzboks

By Mark Etheridge

Seabelo Senatla scorched his way into the try-scoring record books as he led South Africa’s Blitzboks to their first World Sevens Series title win in Wellington in 15 years.

The Blitzboks beat perennial rivals Fiji 26-5 in the final, played at a cold and blustery Welllington.

Fiji had opened the scoring three minutes into the final as Joel Lutumailagi beat Senatla around the outside, something rarely seen.

But Senatla bounced back right away as, with Fiji down to six men after Bituniyata was sin-binned for a neck-roll, great work from Kwagga Smith allowed captain Philip Snyman to free up the Blitzbok flyer.

He cantered over under the posts for one of the easiest of his 180 World Series tries, which has now taken him past the mark of previous SA try-scoring best Fabian Juries.

That score, converted by Branco du Preez, came 25sec out from the halftime hooter and saw the Blitzboks take a 7-5 lead into the break.

The second half saw Du Preez going off a minute into the action. And it was his replacement, Rosko Specman who made an immediate impact as he scored within 30sec of his introduction.

Once again Senatla played a key part in the try as he made metres down the outside before cutting back inside and after the resultant broken play, Specman was freed up to make it 14-5.

Then it was another replacement, Ruhan Nel, who used his power to barge over after a South African scrum feed. And he got another shortly after to rub salt in Fijian wounds.

Captain Snyman praised his men afterwards. ‘We’ve worked very hard since Christmas and grateful that it’s paid off here,’ he said.

‘It’s also great to finally win here again. The only player in the current set-up who was involved in that win in 2002 was our coach Neil Powell who was a “newbie” back then.

’I think we really played some phenomenal rugby today. It was always our plan to be in their faces while at the same time keeping up our structures and I think our defence was also wonderful.’

There was more reward for Senatla who was named Player of the Final. Typically gracious he explained the team’s success.

‘I really think were a bunch of pretty average players but it’s the bond that keeps the team together that is so special, we love each other’s company and work well together.’

Sevens fans the world over only have one more week to enjoy Senatla’s special skills. Next week’s tournament in Sydney will be his last before he joins up with Super Rugby franchise, the Stormers to ply his skills in the 15-man code.

Picture of the victorious Blitzboks on Sunday  courtesy of Phil Walter/Getty Images


5 comments
Tumelo Mooketsi
Tumelo Mooketsi

We thank God for you Seabelo Senatla for providingg this country with a rich history and the entire team "FANTASTIC" work and great victory, blessed be the God our Father who art in Heaven

Siyamamkela Sammy
Siyamamkela Sammy

Well done boys I thnk ts tym to see Senatla on Boks nw...I thnk he'z matured