The Springbok Sevens put up a sterling performance, but ultimately paid for their mistakes as they went down 29-12 to Hong Kong Champions Fiji in their opening match at the Tokyo Sevens on Saturday.
The Blitzbokke faced a mammoth task in taking on the sevens maestros, a side that has always been their nemesis, but looked good as they rattled Fiji early on by rushing them on defence causing turnovers and putting them under pressure.
It was one such defensive blitz that led to the mistake that gifted Steven Hunt his opening try, and the Blitzbokke an early lead.
But they weren’t helped by some strange reffing decisions by referee Anthony Moyles, who called advantage over for a Fijian offside so quickly that when the ball went wide, a mistake led to Sakiusa Vatuinaruku running the field for a try at the other end.
Samisoni Viriviri added a second to give Fiji a 14-5 lead at the break and another Blitzbok mistake saw Jasa Veremalua extend the lead early in the second half.
Cecil Afrika’s appearance back from injury brought immediate rewards as he scored to give the Blitzbokke some hope, but it was finally extinguished with two late tries from Benito Masilevu and Viriviri who ensured Fiji start the tournament well.
The Blitzbokke next face Portugal at 8.13am after the Portugese lost to Spain in their opener. The Blitzbokke will face Spain at 10.57am.