South Africa vs Australia – USA Sevens Rugby
29 - 17
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Cup Qtr FinalsSam Boyd Stadium03/03/201806:32 PM2018 USA Sevens

The final match of the day could scarcely be more appropriate for a marquee than South Africa and Australia. Each nation has claimed a cup victory this season. In an attempt to be the first team to claim two on the season, the Australians trotted out to take on the Blitzbokke.

It was Australia with the early pressure, spending the first two minutes in the South Africa half before sending John Porch under the post for the five-points. James Stannard’s conversion left South Africa down a full score. But the Blitzbokke are a team that can score as quickly as any in the world, a point proven very easily when Dylan Sage crossed for a seven-pointer less than a minute later.

A minute later, South Africa forced a penalty turnover at the Australia ten-meter line, giving the defending Series champions a chance to claim a lead. It was not to be on that possession as a lost ball inside the Australia twenty-two gave the ball to Australia. The Australians scored from the possession when James Stannard succeeded in a no-look pass to Porch on the right wing. The pass hit the deck and clearly appeared to roll forward, but no call was made and Porch soon had the ball scooped up, then chipped ahead, and finally applied the necessary pressure in goal to claim the five points. Stannard’s conversion, however, was not as fortunate, making it 12–7, with the restart coming in the seventh minute of play. That was just enough time for Ryan Oosthuizen to score the leveler down the right side of the pitch. Like his opposite number, Cecil Afrika could not drive home the vital conversion, which meant an even match heading into the second half.

The second half started with great fortune for South Africa. The restart kicked to the Australia twenty-two was dropped forward by Lewis Holland, setting up an attacking scrum for South Africa. A short-arm penalty out of that scrum led to a tap and go by Cecil Afrika and try in line with the posts. He converted score for the 19–12 lead at the 5:30-remaining mark.

Holland brought in the next restart cleanly and the Australians won a penalty soon after. That saw Australia stream into the South Africa half, but a penalty near midfield gave South Africa the ball back. Cecil Afrika looked to kick the penalty to touch, but poorly struck the kick, failing to find touch. Australia tried to counter, but South Africa got the ball back and soon had it in the hands of Ruhan Nel, filling in for the injured Werner Kok, who made his way to the promised land in the left corner for a twelve-point lead heading into the final three minutes of play.

Needing only to play cleanly to advance to yet another semifinal, South Africa erred by drilling the restart directly into touch. Australia failed to capitalize on the mistake, instead falling victim to South Africa’s ruthless instinct. This time, it was Selvyn Davids with the try. Ruhan Nel missed the conversion, but it did not matter. Up 29–12 just before full time, South Africa had booked its place in the semifinal to face Argentina tomorrow.

Australia, destined for a fifth-place semifinal match, mounted a consolation score through Jeral Skelton, a full minute after the hooter blared. Tom Lucas’s conversion attempt from the left touchline was of the mark: South Africa 29, Australia 17.