Zain Davids, who took over the captaincy, said: “I have a little bit of mixed emotions at the moment, but mostly I’m happy as we came out here and gave our all, and I think we can be very happy with our performance against a great team like Fiji.
“When ‘Shakes’ got injured, I had to take over the captaincy and I was happy to do that, because I know the guys support me, but I also knew that in this team you don’t really have to be a captain as you have a bunch of guys behind you that’s helping and supporting you.”
The South African men’s side made a great start to the final and scored three well-worked tries in the opening half while keeping the dangerous Fijian runners in check with excellent tackling and great counterattacking play.
They deservingly led 17-0 at the break in the Coventry Stadium, while in the second half they combined their heroic defensive effort with equally great finishing performances. Muller du Plessis opened the scoring from a pinpoint Selvyn Davids cross-kick, an early sign of things to come.
JC Pretorius scored the second in the same corner after a sustained passage of attacking play, with SA looking well after the ball in contact. That put them 12-0 ahead.