South Africa captured their second Emirates Airline Dubai title in three years with a well-deserved and hard-fought 12-7 victory over England at the new home of the Arabian Gulf Rugby Union, called “The Sevens”. SA also won here in 2003.
Promising youngster Robert Ebersohn opened the scoring for SA, his fifth of the weekend in the desert city. Stick converted to make it 7-0.
Mpho Mbiyozo then forced his way over with a few second left on the clock before halftime to stretch the SA lead to 12-0.
Tom Biggs scored for England shortly after the break to give the English hope at 12-5. Paul Delport was then yellow-carded for a repeated offence and England immediately took full advantage with a try by Nicky Young, who also converted his own effort to draw the teams level.
However, with only 20 second to go on the stadium clock, speedster Gio Aplon switched on the turbo to display his dazzling burst of speed, which took him effortlessly past the stretched English defence. Aplon unselfishly passed the ball to Benjamin in the goal area, who touched down with a huge dive and a massive smile on his face.
The smaller but more determined South Africans used the kick cleverly and they competed superbly at the breakdown, forcing several vital turnovers for the speedy backs.
Earlier, South Africa qualified for the final thanks to a brilliant kicking display by their captain Mzwandile Stick, who first slotted a difficult conversation on the stroke of full-time to force their semi-final into sudden-death again Fiji. One minute later he landed a sensational long-range drop-goal to secure 10-7 win for the Springbok Sevens.
The popular 8 tournament World Series now moves to George in South Africa where the Springbok Sevens will attempt to capture their first home title.