Blitzbokke hold off England
Wellington - South Africa charged into the cup
quarter-finals at the World Sevens Series leg in Wellington, New Zealand,
after going unbeaten in the pool stages on Friday.
The Blitzbokke got off to a flawless start, with a 21-0 victory over the United States and a 43-0 thumping of Cook Islands.
Against their strongest challenger in Pool B, the South Africans hit back in the second half to secure a 14-10 win over England.
5-0 at half-time, Mark Richards dotted down a minute after the break
and Branco du Preez converted to give the Blitzbokke the lead.
Du Preez crossed the line midway through the second period, and converted his own try, to extend the gap.
Greg Barden scored in the dying stages, but a second missed conversion saw England settle for second place in the group.
year's IRB Sevens Player of the Year, Cecil Afrika, scored a brace
against the US and another try against Cook Islands, but was rested with
regular captain Kyle Brown for the game against England.
South Africa's coach, Paul Treu, said he was pleased with the team's overall performance.
started a bit slow against the US, got our into our rhythm against the
Cook Islands and played a good structured match against a strong England
side," Treu said.
"While I'm happy that we managed to win all
three of our pool matches, we all know that what really counts is how
well you play on day two.
"Cecil and Kyle each played two hard
matches and we thought it would be in the best interest of the team to
rest them against England."
South Africa, lying third in the
series standings after the first three legs, face log leaders Fiji in
the cup quarter-finals on Saturday.
Treu said his team would focus on achieving their own targets on day two.
"We have our goals and will focus on those instead of other things," he said.
"Hopefully we will be able to keep the momentum from the start on Saturday."