A variety of adjectives were used by elated members of the Springbok Sevens team following their dramatic 20-19 win over Fiji in the final of the HSBC Singapore Sevens on Sunday.
The Blitzboks trailed 19-0 with five minutes left of the match before tries by Kurt-Lee Arendse, Angelo Davids and Ryan Oosthuizen. Selvyn Davids, who already kicked a conversion, then stepped up and added a penalty goal that pushed them into a 20-19 lead.
Fittingly it was also Selvyn Davids, who earlier in the half saved a certain try with a desperate tackle, who kicked the ball into touch in the final act and sent Blitzboks supporters into raptures.
Oosthuizen, who scored the third try in the comeback, felt “very proud” about the “awesome” performance. He said the match will be unforgettable memory for him.
“I will always remember this match and the way we fought back. That is what the Blitzboks stand for, we never give up,” said Oosthuizen, who added that the calmness of coach Neil Powell at halftime helped.
“He said we needed to trust the processes and that we needed to score first. It happened, and the win came because we executed than plan.”
Impi Visser, who scored important tries against Samoa and the USA in their the Blitzboks’ playoffs earlier in the day, admitted some nervous moments.
“There was one time in the second half where we knocked the ball on and I thought ‘this is going to be tight’, but we never stopped playing and trying,” said Visser.
“This was just an awesome feeling and a huge thumbs-up for the players and our system. Everyone contributed, which made it even more special.”
Arendse, playing in only his third tournament, said it felt like he was still dreaming. Powell admitted the victory left him speechless and Arendse, shy by nature anyway, was still taking in the emotions of the win.
“Character and team work. We did not give up. We worked hard together, as a team, to get those tries. This is just lovely,” Arendse said almost introspectively.
Justin Geduld, who passed Fabian Juries and moved into the third spot for Blitzboks’ career points scored in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, said the younger players deserved praise: “They really kept going. We lost our captain, Siviwe Soyizwapi and leading try-scorer in Singapore, before the final and Angelo Davids, in only his second tournament stepped up and played very well.”
“The younger guys who are part of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy train with us and hats off to the management and staff who prepare these players for moments such as these.”
Geduld took over the captaincy from Soyizwapi and rallied the troops in the second half.
“I told the guys to keep believing in our processes,” said Geduld.
“Fiji played well in the first half – they kept the ball and used their opportunities – but we knew we just needed that first try to get going. There was a good feeling amongst the squad all weekend that we can achieve something and I reminded them about that.”