Sevens

Blitzbokke into Las Vegas semis

2014-01-26 08:49
Cecil Afrika (Getty Images)

Las Vegas - South Africa will play Samoa in the Cup semi-finals of the Las Vegas Sevens after they scored six tries with no reply in their 36-0 win over Argentina on Sunday morning (SA time).

GALLERY: Blitzboks hit jackpot!

The Blitzbokke and Samoa are the two most successful teams the past few seasons in Las Vegas, sharing three tournament wins amongst them in as many years in the famous USA city. These two rivals will now meet at 21:32 (SA time) on Sunday to determine who qualifies for the 2014 Cup Final.

Of concern for the Springbok Sevens however, are the injuries of Seabelo Senatla and Sampie Mastriet.  Senatla fell awkwardly against Argentina and left the field immediately, but not before he had scored his sixth try of the tournament. He is currently the tournament’s leading try scorer.

Neil Powell, the Blitzbokke coach, was understandably pleased with the two wins, but he cautioned that the South Africans must prepare themselves for a huge battle against the powerful Samoans.

“I’m happy with our two matches today and hopefully can repeat that kind of effort on the last day. We always try to create space for our fast running backs, to put them into positions from where they can score. It is really great to have such good attackers, but the hard work is to secure the ball and to defend well when u don’t have it,” explained Powell.

Mastriet and Senatla both suffered ankle niggles, but Powell said he is confident the team will have sufficient cover: “We will have to wait and see how their injuries respond to treatment overnight. However, I am confident we will have good cover should they not be able to play,” the Springbok Sevens coach said.

Powell added: “Samoa is a big, physical team and we will have to be at our best to counter them.”

Earlier on Sunday morning, South Africa beat Kenya 19-7 in their final Pool A match to top the group and advance to the knockout stages. Werner Kok, Stephan Dippenaar and Senatla were the try scorers.

In their important quarter-final clash against Argentina, the Springbok Sevens used their great pace out wide to score six times. Their defence was again outstanding, which enabled them to register a third clean sheet in four matches in Las Vegas.

Afrika, a former IRB Sevens Player of the Year, Branco du Preez and Senatla all scored in the first half to hand South Africa a comfortable halftime lead of 19-0.  After the break Werner Kok also crossed the line in between two tries by hard working forward Chris Dry to secure a comprehensive 36-0 victory for the defending tournament champions.

Samoa just managed to beat Australia by scoring the winning try with no time left on the clock (12-10), while Canada stunned France 17-14 to reach their first Cup semi-final since 2000. New Zealand, down to just 10 players after two of their squad members were suspended for foul play against Fiji, beat England 24-7 in the last quarterfinal match of the day.

South Africa (56 points), Las Vegas Cup winners in 2011 and 2013, are just two points behind New Zealand on the HSBC Sevens World Series standings.

Cup quarter-final results:

South Africa 36, Argentina 0

Samoa 12, Australia 10

Canada 17, France 14

New Zealand 24, England 7

 Cup semi-final fixtures:

South Africa vs Samoa (21:32 SA time)

Canada vs New Zealand (21:54 SA time)

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