Samurai claimed the R1million prizemoney at the Sevens Premier League in George with a resounding 29-14 victory over the Cheetahs.
The invitational side, made up of a number of developing South African Sevens players, finished the tournament unbeaten and showed their class against the highly-rated Cheetahs in the final as Justin Geduld ran in four tries in a scintillating display. The Cheetahs knocked out the impressive All Stars outfit in their semifinal, with the speedy Raymond Rhule notching a hat-trick in their 29-17 victory. The Samurai posted a convincing victory over the Sharks in their semifinal to maintain their unbeaten record in the tournament. The Living Ball claimed the Plate competition with a 24-12 victory over the Blue Bulls whilst in the Bowl the Lions did enough to hold off Western Province to claim the spoils.
Samurai’s Justin Geduld notched up his hat-trick within the first five minutes as they took control, leaving the Cheetahs to chase the game. The Free State side threatened at times but lacked the finishing touch until Johann Sadie straightened nicely to open their account. Geduld opened the second half with his fourth try to give his team a dominant 22-7 lead, and there was no way back for the Cheetahs from there despite a late try from Robbie van Schalkwyk.
The Living Ball took the early lead thanks to a piece of opportunism from Alshaun Bock who burst from the base of the ruck to scamper over for the try which was followed up by a well-worked try in the corner from Berty Visser. The Bulls responded with a try from Travis Ismael, but Bock got a second before half-time to give Living Ball a commanding 19-5 lead. The second half was quite scrappy, but the Living Ball did enough to seal a 24-12 victory and claim the Plate. Bowl Final: Whestley Moolman got the game off to an explosive start with a stunning individual effort from his own half to give the Lions the early lead. That was followed up soon afterwards by Andries Coetzee who collected his own kick to put the Lions firmly in control. Province hit back through Dean Hammond but the Lions had the final say in the first half when Ross Cronje went over. Cronje made it a double early in the second half, and although Province managed two tries of their own it was not enough to prevent the Lions from winning 26-19.
Cheetahs 29-17 All Stars An early double from Raymond Rhule put the Cheetahs in the driver’s seat, but the Free State speed merchant did not have to do much for either try, with his teammates setting him up to stroll over on both occasions to give them a 12-0 advantage. The All Stars hit back just before half-time through Zar Lawrence and they levelled the scores just after the break when Ben Gollings dived over in the corner. The Cheetahs reclaimed the lead when Rayno Benjamin finished off a period of pressure to make it 17-12. Rhule’s hat-trick try gave them a crucial lead, and they held on well to claim a 29-17 victory and send the All Stars packing. Samurai 22-5 Sharks The Sharks struck early when a good pass from Tera Mthembu put Gouws Prinsloo in some space and he finished in style to give his side the lead. Samurai showed good patience and some solid build-up work saw flyer Seabelo Senatla go over for the try which gave them the lead, and a late try from Jack Wilson put them 12-5 ahead at half-time. Senatla pounced on a loose ball to go over shortly after the break to put the Samurai firmly in charge and they held on to record a 22-5 victory.
Living Ball 24-12 Kaizer Chiefs Living Ball saw off the challenge of Kaizer Chiefs with a solid 24-12 victory. They took the early ascendency thanks to tries from Berty Visser and Alshaun Bock, and although Chiefs hit back with a well-worked team-try just before half-time, Living Ball sealed victory with second-half tries from Wendal Wehr and Dirk Dipenaar. Blue Bulls 22-7 Boland The Bulls were forced to work hard by a determined Boland side but booked their place in the final. The Bulls took control early on and it was not long before twins Jesse and Jason Kriel had crossed the tryline, which gave them a 10-0 lead at half-time with two Boland players shown yellow cards. Boland hit back through Eric Zana, but tries from Jason Kriel and Clayton Bloemmetjies were enough to put the Bulls through to the Plate final.
Vikings 14-15 Western Province Western Province snuck home by the narrowest of margins against the Vikings to book their place in the Plate Final. The Cape side outscored their opponents by three tries to two but miissed every kick to take it down to the wire. A late try not enough for the Vikings as they bowed out. Lions 17-0 Mighty Mohicans The Lions cruised to a comprehensive victory over the Mighty Mohicans, completely shutting their opponents out in a 17-0 rout.
All Stars v Kaizer Chiefs The All Stars booked a spot in the semifinals with an extra-time victory over a determined Kaizer Chiefs side in the pouring rain. Chiefs struck first in the difficult conditions when Jongi Nokwe received a pass from Bom Samai to race over for a try, but the All Stars responded with some magic of their own from Stefan Basson to level things up. The seesaw nature of the match continued as the teams traded tries before half-time to go into the break deadlocked at 12-12. The All Stars showed their class in the second half with tries from Danwell Demas and Jaco Bouwer, but the Chiefs hit back in sensational fashion to send the game to extra time with the final play. Cheetahs v Living Ball The Cheetahs needed a try from Johann Sadie in extra time against the Living Ball to qualify for the semifinals. The Cheetahs got their noses in front when Rayno Benjamin grabbed a line-out ball to scramble over, and they proceeded to spent most of the first half in opposition territory to take a 7-0 lead into half-time. The Living Ball levelled the scores when a clearance kick sat up perfectly for Dirk Dipenaar who went under the poles. Sadie got the Cheetahs back in fron with a neat dummy and some decent pace. The Living Ball refused to give in and their captain Jonathon Mokuena barged his way over from close range to level it up once more and take the game to extra time. Rayno Benjamin claimed the restart and bolted clear to set up the winning try for Sadie.
Samurai v Blue Bulls Samurai pulled away from the Bulls in the second half to go through to the Cup quarterfinals. The first half was a frantic and scoreless affair which saw both teams battle to deal with the slippery ball, and the most significant moment was a yellow card just before half-time for a late tackle. The Samurai lost Shannon Rick to a yellow card just after half-time but that did not stop them from opening the scoring with speedster Seabelo Senatla going over. That was followed up soon afterwards by a try from Carel du Preez in the right corner and the Samurai cruised to a comfortable 12-7 victory, with the Bulls scoring a late consolation through Jesse Kriel. Sharks v Boland The Sharks squeezed through to the semfinals with a drop-goal by Gouws Prinsloo in the final play which secured a 8-5 victory over Boland. The game got off to a scrappy start until Boland worked it out to Cheslyn Roberts who glided over after some good footwork. That was enough to give them a 5-0 lead at half-time as both teams failed to take their opportunities. The Sharks struck back at the start of the second half with Peter van Tonder crashing over to level the scores. That set up a tense finish, and Prinsloo slotted the last-gasp drop-goal to send the Sharks through.