The clock wound down during this strange moment involving the Blitzboks and Japan

Watch: Bizarre moment player held-up at Dubai Sevens

We are used to seeing defenders in the 15s game employing the ‘choke tackle’ – the art of holding a tackled player up off the ground, creating a maul in the hope of getting a turnover. But it was a real novelty to see a player held up in sevens. So when South African star Selwyn Davids was help up by these Japanese player (with the clock ticking away) at the Dubai Sevens, it was a novelty to say the least.

What makes this so strange, apart from the time draining away? Well, because none of Davids’s Blitzboks team-mates engaged, the referee was forced to say “this is not a maul.”

In 15s, we would likely see a turnover but this is the Sevens World Series. So time ran on. The Japanese players had to rip the ball or get him down…. or drive him into touch. None of this happened and so we had a stalemate.

The ball was eventually worked out to South Africa’s JC Pretorius, after the Japanese side had given up the ghost on this defensive ploy.

As World Rugby say on their official account, “You’ve never seen this before in sevens. Trust us.” And you know what? They are probably right!

South Africa won the first leg of the Dubai Sevens last week, and defeated Japan here 48-0. Their next match-up is against Ireland Sevens, with Great Britain also on their fixture card.

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