The SA Vipers got the better of a howling south-easter and a motivated Samurai side as they successfully defended their crown at the third annual Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth yesterday.
The Vipers scored four unanswered tries, three of which were converted by Cecil Afrika, and rarely looked in trouble as they notched up 26 points without reply. It also meant that they kept their clean slate intact in their six matches.
Although their first objective was to win the tournament, the Vipers’ captain Kyle Brown – who debuted for the Springboks in Dubai – said the fact that they did not concede any points was proof of the side’s character and commitment.
“It shows that it was a concentrated effort throughout and that the guys are all pushing hard for higher honours.”
Brown said their game plan was to start conservatively. “In sevens there is no room for mistakes, especially in a final.”
He said their opponents had players like Eddie Fredericks and Lionel Mapoe who could take advantage of broken play.
The champions got off to a tentative start with their first try, a full length of the field effort, only coming in the seventh minute. The try was converted to leave the scores at 7 points to 0 at halftime.
Afrika extended the Vipers’ lead to 14 when he dotted down in the 15th minute and converted.
By this time the Samurai, a team consisting of international players, was a beaten side and the floodgates opened as Lwazi Mvovo scored twice within three minutes.
His first try, the third for the Vipers, came in the 18th minute after several phases in the Samurai’s 22-metre territory. He completed his brace in the 20th minute to round off a fine tournament for the Stellenbosch-based side.
The Vipers, who fielded three Springboks, looked a polished outfit throughout. They impressed both on attack and defence, topping the 50-point mark in each of their three pool games on Saturday.
In yesterday’s first quarter-final the Vipers made light work of the Sakhuluntu Chiefs (38-0) and in the semis they stopped an impressive run by Eastern Province (31-0).
The Samurai beat the Central University of Technology side by 26 points to 5 in the fourth quarter-final. They were however made to work hard for their victory against the Western Cape Invitation side, eventually scraping through by 21 points to 19.
Cecil Afrika, whose goal-kicking was as superb as his all-round play, was named Player of the Tournament.
On Saturday, the Springboks beat Uganda by 36 points to 0 in the women’s final.
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens