Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Johannesburg - A brace of tries by maestro Cecil Afrika was enough to ensure that the Springboks whitewashed Australia 17-0 in the quarter-finals of the Emirates Airline London Sevens on Sunday.
While they were beaten soundly by Fiji on day one in their pool game, the Blitzbokke's fortune on a day of upsets was to avoid a heavily congested top half of the draw, and their victory over Australia sets them up with an "easier" semi-final against Wales later on Sunday afternoon.
Wales beat France in their quarter-final, while the other semi-final will be between World Champions New Zealand and Sevens magicians Fiji, who won their quarter-finals against Argentina and Samoa respectively.
The Blitzbokke played an exceptional tactical game, snuffing out the four opportunities that Australia had in the game with some inspired tackling, while taking points from three of their four visits to the Australian 22m area.
They opened the scoring midway through the first half with a try to speedster Bernardo Botha, who burned the defence on the outside to go in a the corner in a typical winger’s try.
The Blitzbokke were on the defence for the rest of the half, but managed to keep the Australians away from their tryline as they went into the break with a 5-0 lead.
In the second half, Afrika started to weave his magic, first changing direction at the perfect time to find the gap and then with a show and go beating the defence for his first try.
Then, with the game neatly poised, he again took the ball from a turnover, weaved his way through two tackles before booting the ball downfield and winning the chase to dive onto the ball in the dead ball area.
The clinical execution of the Blitzbokke’s game plan would have provided coach Paul Treu with much to smile about, but with two more games to go, you’d never find him cracking a smile at this stage of the competition.
The semi-final against Wales takes place at 5.10pm SA time.