The anticipated match up of the day (if you discount, what turned out to be, a lack-lustre New Zealand performance against Australia) was the Australia v South Africa Cup Final.
This was a showcase for Sevens Rugby in every sense of the word. Fast, skillful and open, Australia opened the scoring, to be matched a short time later by the Springboks. The Aussies picked themselves up and soon scored another, smashing their way through the ‘Boks defence to take their tally to 14. Another before half-time saw them stretch the lead to 21-7.
The second half, if anything, was more thrilling than the first. The Aussies scored after 20 seconds and were looking good for the match when South Africa came back with two of their own – 28-19 to Australia with five to go. Another converted try saw the lead stretch out again, but South Africa refused to roll over and scored twice to make it 35-31 to Australia with seconds left.
Sheer will to succeed, and not a little skill, drove the Springboks in overtime and they were rewarded with a superb score in the corner (pictured above) to win the match 36-35 to the loudest roar from the crowd all weekend. A fantastic match to finish off a fantastic week-end of Sevens Rugby
The South Africans were awarded the Cup by ex-Scotland International John Jeffrey and were then followed onto the podium by New Zealand, who had clinched the overall title at Twickenham the previous week. Then to the delight of the crowd, especially the female contingent, they followed this up with their traditional shirt-less Haka under an un-traditional blue sky.
Photo and Report – John Preece