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Blitzboks beat France to book Dubai Sevens final spot for second week running

South Africa’s Shilton Van Wyk goes up against France’s Stephaen Parez during their Emirates Dubai 7s Rugby tournament semi final match in Dubai on Saturday. Photo: Ali Haider/EPA

South Africa’s Shilton Van Wyk goes up against France’s Stephaen Parez during their Emirates Dubai 7s Rugby tournament semi final match in Dubai on Saturday. Photo: Ali Haider/EPA

Published Dec 4, 2021

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Durban — The Blitzboks are in the final of the Dubai World Sevens Series tournament after scraping past a gallant France team 19-12 in the semi-finals, and they had to show great character to score seconds before the final whistle to win.

This hard-fought victory was just what the South Africans needed after having cruised through to the pool stages, and they have had a good reality check before facing Australia in the final.

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The question going into this match was could France end the Blitzboks’ incredible run of 22 matches unbeaten in World Series games?

The fast-improving French were something of a surprise package in the tournament and were particularly hot in thrashing the USA in the quarter-finals and their form continued into the semi-final when they scored the first try of the game after running from their own line, with Stephen Parez finishing off.

The South Africans certainly knew they were in for a fight, and how would they respond?

There were some uncharacteristic mistakes as the Boks felt the pressure, including a high tackle, a kick flying off the side of the boot into touch and a dropped pass, but they stuck to it and a minute before half-time Siviwe Soyizwape broke through and then, as the hooter was about to sound, he finished strongly at the corner flag for a vital double.

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Bur France dominated possession early in the second half and the pressure told when France found space down the touchline to score. The missed conversion left the score locked at 12-12.

The South Africans looked rattled for the first time in many a game and penalties against them mounted but being the champions that they, their nerve held and 20 seconds from the final whistle, JC Pretorius nailed the winning score.

@MikeGreenaway67

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