DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – South Africa won the Dubai Sevens for the fourth time in a row after defeating 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. Their defense then took over and Ireland could only score once.
Their first World Rugby Sevens series win put them level with Australia, winners of the first leg in Hong Kong a month ago.
Shilton van Wyk scored the first try after 20 seconds, with a dummy in his own half and breaking to the posts. Van Wyk also got the second try with a scissoring move and wrong-footed three defenders.
Siviwe Soyizwapi grabbed the third try in first-half stoppage time after an interception as Ireland were 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 converted a quick-fire penalty.
“We made a couple of tackles here and there. We’re really happy with the defense we put up though,” Soyizwapi said. “It was part of the plan and I can say it worked.”
Both teams came from behind in their semi-finals.
Van Wyk also starred as South Africa beat New Zealand 26-19 to 12-0 at the break. New Zealand led 19-14 but South Africa equalized through Branco du Preez and in the final minute Van Wyk scored the winning try without touching a tryline ruck.
The Irish reached just their second final after beating the United States 12-7 in overtime, Mark Roche breaking after a scrum.
Australia beat New Zealand in the women’s final 26-19. It was close until the second half when Australia pulled away with tries from Maddison Levi and Demi Hayes to lead 26-12.
It was his third consecutive Dubai title.
“As 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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