The Springbok Sevens team will return to South Africa on Wednesday with 37 out of a possible 44 log points gained on the North American leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series, which includes a first LA Sevens crown, and a consolidated second place on the series standings.
The Blitzboks started the second day in Vancouver with a strong 26-10 win over the USA in the quarter-finals to book the showdown with New Zealand, but the log leaders outplayed the Blitzboks, successfully targeting them at the breakdown. A yellow card added to the misery and the deficit on the scoreboard as New Zealand scored twice in that time.
Ernie Els won the Hoag Classic on Sunday for his first PGA Tour Champions title, birdieing the par-5 15th and 18th holes for a two-stroke victory at Newport Beach Country Club.
Making his third PGA Tour Champions start, the 50-year-old Hall of Famer from South Africa closed with a 4-under 67 to finish at 16-under 197. He opened with a 66 and shot 64 on Saturday.
“It was pretty tight,” Els told the PGA Tour Champions website. “I felt a little uncomfortable on the greens. I didn’t have that free-flowing feeling, I had to work hard for it and that’s a good thing to do, to work hard for something. You don’t want something falling in your lap. I’m glad the first one’s over with and we can move on now and it gets more comfortable after this.”Heinrich Klaasen put his stamp on the One-Day Series in typically emphatic style with a six into a packed crowd to put the seal on the Proteas’ 3-0 clean sweep over Australia at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Saturday.
It was their second successive six-wicket win in the series, this time with a substantial four and a half overs to spare, and means that they have now win eight games in a row in the ODI format at home to Australia and have, in all, won 11 of their last 12 matches around the world against these opponents.
It will give the team a massive boost of confidence before they set off tomorrow for their testing three-match ODI Series against India which starts on Thursday.
Man of the Series Klaasen finished with an unbeaten 68 off 63 balls (8 fours and a six) to give him an aggregate of more than 200 runs for the series, having only been dismissed once, and a strike rate in excess of 100 percent.
He excelled as a finisher as good partnerships of 47 for the first wicket between Quinton de Kock and Janneman Malan and then 96 for the third between Jon-Jon Smuts (84 off 98 balls, 12 fours) and Kyle Verreynne (50 off 50 balls, 3 fours and 3 sixes) laid the foundation, both players scoring their maiden half-centuries.
Man of the Match Smuts had a wonderful game all-round as he also took two wickets for the first time with his well-flighted left-arm spin. He was also employed in the final power play in the absence of Tabraiz Shamsi as part of De Kock’s bowling strategy throughout the series.
The other major contributors to the win were the new ball pairing of Anrich Nortje and Lutho Sipamla who between them bowled 41 dot balls out of the 60 in the opening power play. Against a team that contains the top three that Australia do this amounted to a phenomenal performance.
They were well backed up by debutant Daryn Dupavillon and Andile Phehlukwayo as well as the spin of Keshav Maharaj to limit the target to 255.