South Africa produced a remarkable comeback to defeat Fiji in the HSBC World Rugby Singapore Sevens, overcoming a 19-0 halftime deficit to win the Cup final 20-19.
Aminiasi Tuimaba, Napolioni Bolaca and Vilimoni Botitu scored tries for Fiji in the first half, two of which were converted by Bolaca, and the Islanders seemingly had one hand on the trophy after 14 minutes.
Kurt-Lee Arendse, playing from the replacements bench, Angelo Davids and Ryan Oosthuizen scored tries for South Africa, but Selvyn Davids landed only one conversion meaning Fiji still led 19-17 with two minutes to play.
Fiji infringed, however, and Selvyn Davids kicked the decisive penalty goal in the final minute.
Fiji gained the restart back and charged down the right flank but Tuimaba kicked the ball ahead and South Africa, the defending World Rugby Sevens series champions, won the chase to secure their first victory in a final against the Islanders after three previous defeats.
“It was very much an up-and-down game for us,” South Africa coach Neil Powell said after the match.
“I think in that first half it was just the mistakes that we made on our ball. I must give credit to the boys after halftime. They reacted to what was said at halftime, and credit to the composure that they showed and the guts.”
The U.S. remain top of the series standings, their 15 points for fourth place in Singapore moving them to 145, three clear of Fiji.
New Zealand remain third on the table, with 130 points, ahead of South Africa (121) and Singapore bronze medal winners England (107)