Hong Kong - The Springbok Sevens overcome a tricky first half and then a late scare towards the end to eventually overcome determined neighbours Zimbabwe 28-15 in their opening Pool F encounter of the Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens tournament.
All the top seeds passed their opening tests on day one of the event, the sixth leg in the 2009/10 IRB Sevens World Series. South Africa is the reigning Series champions but is currently seventh on the log.
Zimbabwe made a bright start to the feature match of the day when they moved the ball confidently and with ease, allowing Gardener Nechironga to open the score with an unconverted try.
South Africa hit back with tries by Mpho Mbiyozo and Cecil Afrika to go 14-5 up at the break, and started the second half in much better fashion and with a determination not to repeat the errors of the opening half.
New SA Sevens find Sampie Mastriet scored after a quick recycle and good passage of passing to stretch the lead to 21-5. Manasah Sita got his name on the scoreboard for Zimbabwe, before Afrika touched down for his second try of the match.
South Africa then had a chance to end the match, however, they elected to search for another try and were caught on the counter when Nechironga scored Zimbabwe’s third try and his second of the match.
The Springbok Sevens play two matches tomorrow, against Korea (06h20 – SA time) and Kenya (12h56).
Day 1 results:
South Africa 28 - 15 Zimbabwe
Wales 12 - 10 Japan
Canada 12 - 10 Tonga
United States 17 - 10 Portugal
Scotland 7 - 12 France
Argentina 19 - 12 Russia
Kenya 51 - 7 Korea
England 45 - 0 Hong Kong
Australia 45 - 12 China
Fiji 82 - 7 Thailand
New Zealand 59 - 5 Chinese Taipei
Samoa 40 - 12 Italy