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South Africa remains unbeaten after edging Spain 7s final

January 23, 2022 GMT

MALAGA, Spain (AP) — Keeping the rugby sevens world series title may not be a cakewalk for South Africa after all, thanks to Argentina’s effort in a thrilling final in Spain on Sunday.

South Africa won 24-17 with a last-minute try for its third win from the first three tournaments, and its fifth straight going back to last season. Its winning streak is up to 29 matches over two seasons.

The absence of chief rival New Zealand and, for the first time this season Fiji, because of travel restrictions in the pandemic, have eased the path for the South Africans.

They have taken full advantage: Australia and England were brushed aside without scoring a point in Malaga. The unbeaten series leaders reached the final conceding only seven points.

But Argentina has grown into a threat and taken over second in the standings.

Rodrigo Isa, holding the ball like it was a baton and he was in a relay, loped through for the opening try in the first minute.

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South Africa hit back with tries by Selvyn Davids and JC Pretorius, only for Joaquin de la Vega to dot down twice in two minutes to push Argentina 17-12 ahead.

Two minutes later, Justin Geduld’s try knotted the score on 17.

With extra time looming, Dewald Human quick-tapped a penalty to himself, launched a huge cross-field pass to Geduld, who fed Davids to slip through the defense and beat a chasing Marcos Moneta to the tryline.

The series moves to Seville next weekend.

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