Blitzboks set for Samoa showdown

2016-05-14 21:13
Ryan Kankowski (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Springbok Sevens team finished top of Pool C of the HSBC Paris Sevens on Saturday and will meet Samoa in the Cup quarter-finals in the ninth event on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

After beating England 24-5 on Friday, South Africa managed solid wins against Brazil and Australia on Saturday ending the pool stage of the tournament undefeated. The Blitzboks won 30-7 against Brazil and then outplayed Australia 31-0 in the final match of Day 2.

The quarter-final berth is the ninth consecutive one for South Africa and keep alive their quest to move past Fiji into first place on the overall series log.

Springbok coach Neil Powell was a happy man afterwards, especially after the match against Australia, where dogged defence was a trademark of South Africa’s effort.

“I am pleased yes, especially with our defensive effort. “If we stick to our defensive systems like today, the guys actually make the games easy for themselves. The guys really did well in the defensive system and were rewarded because of that.”

Powell was also pleased about the team effort from the squad.

“All 12 guys did well today and that is very pleasing,” Powell said.

“We need to start over tomorrow though. Samoa will be keen to build on their performances and build some momentum towards their Olympic qualifier. They will be physical and keen to bring the game to us, so we must be ready for that.”

It was a good day for wing Seabelo Senatla, who scored a brace in each of the two matches to add to the four tries he scored against England on Friday. He has scored 40 points in the three matches.

Senatla has now scored 62 tries in the 2015/16 series and is the leading points’ scorer in the series with 310 points.

Against Australia, the South African defensive effort was a highlight, but two great runs by Senatla and a five pointer by Rosko Specman gave the Blitzboks a 19-0 lead at the break.

Specman scored another after the restart and Francois Hougaard finished off the day on a high note when he ran strongly to seal the win against Australia.

In the Brazil clash, South Africa scored six tries, but could not convert one of them. The South Americans ran in from deep to score their solitary try after intercepting a South African pass near their own line.

The Blitzboks tries came from Senatla (2), Ruhan Nel, Cecil Afrika, Kyle Brown and Ryan Kankowski. Senatla's brace took him past 150 career tries in the World Series, whilst Kankowski added to his series tally ten years since his last try way back in 2006.

Some crisp passing helped the South Africans along the way. They made 29 completed passes to Brazil's 12 and generally snuffed out any attacking ambitions from their opponents with some solid defence, not missing one tackle in the process.

In other results, New Zealand won Pool A with a last gasp win over Kenya and Fiji easily won Pool B with a solid win over Samoa. France outplayed Argentina to win Pool D.

The Cup quarter-finals for Sunday are:

11:13: New Zealand v Argentina

11:35: South Africa v Samoa

11:57: France v Kenya

12:19: Fiji v Australia

Cup quarter-final notes

• South Africa and Samoa have played each other 66 times in the series. South Africa has won 41 of those and Samoa 20, with five matches drawn. The average score is 18-14 in South Africa's favour.

Results from the Paris Sevens, the ninth leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens series:

Pool A
Kenya 29, Portugal 14
New Zealand 35, Russia 10
Kenya 22, Russia 7
New Zealand 31, Portugal 0
Russia 17, Portugal 10
New Zealand 19, Kenya 17

Pool B
Fiji 38, Scotland 12
Samoa 52, Wales 10
Fiji 33, Wales 14
Samoa 17, Scotland 12
Scotland 35, Wales 7
Fiji 42, Samoa 5

Pool C
South Africa 24, England 5
Australia 38, Brazil 0
South Africa 30, Brazil 7
Australia 24, England 19
England 38, Brazil 12
South Africa 31, Australia 0

Pool D
Argentina 36, United States 0
France 42, Canada 5
Argentina 28, Canada 7
France 24, United States 12
United States 33, Canada 12
France 26, Argentina 14

Read more on:    blitzboks  |  sevens  |  rugby

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