South Africa win Dubai Sevens for 4th straight time

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — South Africa won the Dubai Sevens a fourth straight time after putting away Ireland 21-5 in the final on Saturday.

The South Africans dominated possession in the first half and scored three converted tries to lead 21-0 at the break. Then their defense took over and Ireland could score only once.

Their first victory on the rugby sevens world series lifted them into the lead with Australia, the winner of the opening leg in Hong Kong a month ago.

Shilton van Wyk scored the opening try after 20 seconds, with a dummy in his own half and break to the posts. Van Wyk also got the second try on a scissors move and wrong-footed three defenders.

Siviwe Soyizwapi got the third try in first half stoppage time from an intercept when Ireland was pushing to get back into the final. Ricardo James Duarttee converted all three.

Ireland's only points came midway through the second half, after Jack Kelly powered through from a quick-tapped penalty.

“We slipped a few tackles here and there. However, we're really happy with the defense we put out there,” Soyizwapi said. "It was part of the plan and I can say it worked.”

Both teams came from behind in their semifinals.

Van Wyk also starred when South Africa beat New Zealand 26-19 from 12-0 down at halftime. New Zealand led 19-14 but South Africa leveled through Branco du Preez and in the last minute Van Wyk scored the winning try untouched off a ruck on the tryline.

The Irish reached only their second final after beating the United States 12-7 in extra time, Mark Roche breaking clean from behind a scrum.

Australia won the women's final from New Zealand 26-19. It was close until the second half when Australia pulled away with tries by Maddison Levi and Demi Hayes to lead 26-12.

It was their third consecutive Dubai title.

“Like our coaches say,” Madison Ashby said, “'We're the queens of the desert.'”

The series moves to Cape Town next weekend.


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