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Rugby | Sevens

Dylan Sage © Gallo Images

Amazing comeback sends Blitzboks into semis



A heart-stopping try 150 seconds after the end of official play sent the Blitzboks into the semifinals of the Vancouver Sevens with an amazing come-from-behind win over Australia in their quarterfinal.

Already robbed of several players through injury, the World Series leaders were staring down a barrel when they went 19-0 behind in the first half and looked nowhere in the game.

But a stern talk at halftime by Bok Sevens coach Neil Powell and some inspirational never-say-die play later and the Blitzboks scored four tries in the second half to fight their way into the semifinal.

They will now face Fiji, who were rampant in their quarterfinal against Argentina in their 43-7 victory.

The Blitzboks were hit early when Ben O’Donnell scored in the first minute to give the Wallabies the lead and then were quickly reduced to six men when Cecil Afrika was given a yellow card for intercepting a ball in an off-side position.

The mismatch in numbers hurt the Blitzboks as Thomas Connor and John Porch scored in quick succession to give the Aussies a 19-0 lead at the break.

The response would be a massive test of character for the Blitzboks and they responded exceptionally well.

First Shakes Soyizwapi fought his way over the line in the left corner and two minutes later he scored in the right corner to bring the Blitzboks back into it.

With time ticking down it was a massive charge down in the 22 by Branco du Preez that spilt the ball loose and Cecil Afrika picked up and scored to give the Blitzboks a shimmer of hope.

Du Preez converted the try to send the teams into the final kickoff on fulltime equal, but the Blitzboks won the ball, and proceeded to slowly march upfield, taking their time as they systematically broke down the Aussie defence.

Eventually, in the 17th minute of the 14 minute contest, it was Dylan Sage who found space, almost slipped and then planted the ball over the whitewash to give the Blitzboks the win.

The semifinal against Fiji will kick off at 12.08am (CAT, GMT+2) with the third place playoff set for 2.52am and the final for 3.19am.



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