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Tough Series: SVNS titans South Africa beat Australia in battle for ninth

By Finn Morton
Rosko Specman of South Africa hugs Shilton van Wyk after victory in the final against Argentina during the HSBC SVNS rugby tournament on December 3, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Martin Dokoupil/Getty Images)

The “margin of error” is tiny in the new-look SVNS Series, as seen in Vancouver. South Africa and Australia were left to battle it out for ninth place after a series of tough defeats.


Both the Blitzboks and Aussie 7s emerged as some of the teams to beat on the Series during the first three events of the 2023/24 season.

South Africa beat now-SVNS Series leaders Argentina in the Dubai final a few months ago, while Australia have made the decider in both Cape Town and their home event in Perth.

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France 7s Captain Paulin Riva Dupont joining the 7s squad

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France 7s Captain Paulin Riva Dupont joining the 7s squad

But it was a different story at SVNS Vancouver this weekend. The two temporarily fallen giants finished last in their respective which just goes to show how tight this competition is.

“We started well in Dubai and then in Cape Town, sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves to perform,” South Africa’s Rosko Specman told RugbyPass.

“As you saw in this last game, there wasn’t pressure… if you’re out of the Cup finals there’s no more pressure and then you can be yourself and that was the chat today.

“If we can just be like this, don’t put pressure on ourselves, let’s go out there and enjoy.


“We’ve been training so hard and we know exactly what each and everyone (can do)… we can smash anyone on this circuit.

“If you look at (the results) so far, we have beaten all the teams and we are the only team that can beat all the teams.”

It all seemed be going to plan for the Blitzboks after their first match at BC Place Stadium. Matched up against arch-rivals New Zealand, the South Africans claimed a statement 21-12 win.

But from there, the going got tough. South Africa were pipped by Great Britain in their second game on Friday and were beaten again by Ireland on Day Two.


South Africa bounced back with a win over hometown favourites Canada in the ninth-place semi-final, but saved one of their best performances for last against the Aussies.

Australia, who had a bit of a point to prove themselves, were no match for the Blitzboks who won comfortably 24-7.

“We went out guns blazing in the first game against New Zealand and after that, I think our confidence was too high, we should’ve come back to zero again and start all over again,” Specman said.

“We must remember, the margin of error is so small these days. If you’re not focused enough you can lose the game.

“You can see yesterday, we came so close to playing in the Cup finals, the quarter-finals, but now we’re out.

“But you can see the fight in the guys. They fight for every point.”


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Poorfour 4 hours ago
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