Blitzbokke face Fiji in Dubai
Dubai - The Springbok Sevens squad have the tough task of facing Fiji in the cup quarter-final of the HSBC Dubai Sevens Series after losing 19-14 to a very young Australian squad on Friday.
Had the Boks won, they would have been up against England which would have been a less daunting challenge than facing the Sevens specialists.
In both opening tournaments of last season, Fiji was the side that kept the Boks from reaching the finals.
Failure to protect the ball at the breakdown resulted in many turnovers and some serious attention needs to be paid to this aspect of the Springbok game if they are to achieve success.
For the second time in the day’s play Cecil Afrika scored the opening try for the Blitzboks which he also converted.
Unlike in the first two fixtures of the day, Paul Treu’s charges looked far more composed, but still failed to put enough pressure on the Australians.
Australia wasted no time to wipe out the early deficit and entered halftime with a deserved 12-7 lead.
Debutant John Grant, who scored his team’s second try in the first half, added five more points after the break when Australia out-muscled the Boks at a ruck.
Grant scored five tries on his first day playing with the world’s top teams.
Afrika eventually restored some pride with a fine finish, but it was too late and probably the deserved result on a day of mixed fortunes for the inexperienced South African squad.
After a solid victory in their opening match against Russia, the Boks were held to a 19-all draw by Scotland.
Having looked the better side for most of the match, they were on the receiving end of a courageous fight-back from the Scots and had to watch Peter Horne score the equalising try seconds from the final whistle.
Had it not been for the missed conversion attempt by Andrew Skeen – Skeen’s shot at goal striking the upright – the Boks would not have had any chance of reaching the cup quarter-finals.
Against Russia Afrika and Kyle Brown showed that they are starting to get the hang of the high-paced version of the game while Bernardo Botha is sure to celebrate the try he scored on debut.
The consistency that Treu asked for from his team leading up to the tournament was not delivered on the day.
Had the squad, which features six new players, managed to give Treu what he wanted it would have been interesting to see how tough they could have made life for their opponents.
South Africa v Australia Springboks 14 (7):
Tries - Cecil Afrika (2).
Conversions: Afrika (2)
Australia: 19 (12)
Tries - Bernard Foley, John Grant (2).
Conversions - Foley (2).
South Africa v Scotland Springboks 19 (12):
Tries Kyle Brown (2) Cecil Afrika.
Conversion. Afrika (2) Scotland 19 (7) – Fraser Harnkness, Dougie Fife, Peter Horne.
Conversions: Horne, Andrew Skeen.
Scorers: South Africa v Russia Springboks: 19 (7)
Tries - Cecil Afrika, Bernado Botha, Kyle Brown.
Conversions - Afrika, Renfred Dazel
Russia: 10 (5)
Tries - Nikolay Goroshilov, Dmitriy Perov
Samoa 21 Wales 21
Kenya 31 Arabian Gulf 19
Samoa 54 Arabian Gulf 12
Kenya 12 Wales 17
Wales 47 Arabian Gulf 5
Samoa 26 Kenya 7
New Zealand 31 United States 7
Argentina 14 Zimbabwe 24
New Zealand 59 Zimbabwe 0
Argentina 19 United States 24
United States 28 Zimbabwe 12
New Zealand 24 Argentina 19
Australia 41 Scotland 14
South Africa 19 Russia 10
Australia 28 Russia 19
South Africa 19 Scotland 19
Scotland 26 Russia 10
Australia 19 South Africa 14
Fiji 31 Portugal 7
England 24 France 12
Fiji 35 France 5
England 12 Portugal 14
Portugal 26 France 14
Fiji 21 England 26
Kenya v Argentina
Portugal v Russia
Scotland v France
Zimbabwe v Arabian Gulf