Senatla swops codes from seven to 15-man with the Stormers for the foreseeable future and ended his sevens season with a 29-14 win in the final against England who had beaten SA in the pool stages on Saturday.
The Blitzboks got off to the perfect start in the final as an eight-pass movement saw skipper Philip Snyman make great ground down the left hand touchline and was also on hand to score the first try of the game.
And then it was Senatla’s turn to shine again as he danced his way through the English defence to go over under the posts for his 189th Sevens Series try. Branco du Preez converted and the Blitzboks were up and running.
They cemented their lead even further after being awarded a penalty 33sec from the half-time hooter and Justin Geduld threw a delightful dummy to English flyer Dan Norton for a converted try which saw the lead out to 19-0.
There was nearly another dream start to the second half as Ruhan Nel went over for what looked to be a try but brilliant work by Phil Burgess saw him holding the big Blitzbok up and the ball couldn’t be dotted down.
But they didn’t have to wait long and after a mistake from the English scrum saw Geduld glide over to the left of the sticks for his fourth try of the weekend.
The English fought back gallantly and Tom Mitchell did some good work to get over and get his team on the board, 24-7.
But any thoughts of a true fightback were buried immediately when Senatla sliced through the English defence before unleashing substitute Stephen Dippenaar to dot down to the left and make it 29-7.
There was late consolation after the hooter as England ran it from their own line and Norton’s fleet-footedness saw him running almost the length of the field for a converted try that brought his side back to 29-14 for the final score.
Skipper Snyman was full of praise after the win. ‘Thanks to the whole of Sydney and hats off to my team. We stuck to the structures and it worked for us.
‘Thanks also to Tom [Mitchell] and his guys who also played phenomenal rugby. This win was extra-special as it’s our first back-to-back Series wins in Australasia. Once again hats off to everyone in our system, our families back home, all the messages of support etc.. they all count.’
Final word to Senatla who ended up with another Man of the Match award to make his sending off that much sweeter.
‘It’s an incredible way to end it off for both Kwagga [Smith] and me in both our last sevens tournament, it’s really nice to end it off like this.
‘But credit must go to my teammates .. it’s them who open the game up. They are the magicians, credit to them. I’m just the finisher,’ he said in typically understated fashion.
‘Leaving sevens for 15’s is a bitter-sweet feeling, we love each other and are like brothers, this team but at the same time I’m excited for my new challenge.’
The series win, their third in four tournaments sees the Blitzboks lead the series with 85 points, 18 points ahead of second-placed England with six tournaments to play, the next being in Las Vegas on 3-5 March.
– See more at: http://www.sascoc.co.za/2017/02/05/super-send-off-for-senatla-as-blitzboks-win-in-sydney/#sthash.OV1TbvTE.dpuf