Port Elizabeth - The Springbok Sevens team qualified for the Cup quarter-finals of the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens on Saturday when they topped Pool A, beating the USA, Kenya and Wales along the way.
The defending champions will face England in the first Cup quarter-finals match on Sunday.
Argentina topped Pool B, Fiji Pool C and New Zealand finished top of Pool D to qualify for the Cup competition alongside Australia, USA and Scotland.
Former Springbok Sevens Player of the Year, Cecil Afrika, reached a milestone in the match against Wales as he scored a try to take his career tally to 928 points in the Sevens World Series. It took him past the long standing mark of Fabian Juries (925) and he now holds the record for most points in the series by a South African.
Blitzbokke coach Neil Powell was content with the efforts shown by the players, but warned that the real test will start against England on Sunday.
“We did attack well today. I did feel the guys were too tense and trying to do too much in the early matches, but they relaxed nicely against Wales and we could score a number of good tries,” said Powell.
“The USA was physical and made sure we did not get into our rhythm while Kenya was also tough to break down. One of our great successes last weekend in Dubai was the contribution of the guys who came on off the bench, and we are fortunate to have players of that calibre who can come on and make a difference.”
Powell was full of praise for speedster Seabelo Senatla, who scored a number of breath-taking tries.
“Seabelo is a special player and he makes things happen. However, it’s always a team effort and the players upfront do the hard yards so that our exciting runners can finish the job.”
A breakdown of the Blitzbokke’s matches:
South Africa 36 - Wales 0
The Springbok Sevens team kept their best performance of the day for last as they beat Wales 36-0 in the final match of the evening to secure the top spot in pool A. Senatla ran riot and scored three tries as the South Africans showed too much speed for the Welsh defence to handle.
Cecil Afrika, Warrick Gelant and Kwagga Smith also scored tries, whilst Branco du Preez kicked three conversions.
Afrika’s try took his to total points tally in the Sevens World Series to 928, moving past the long standing mark of Fabian Juries (925).
South Africa 38, Kenya 7
In earlier action the Blitzbokke raced away from Kenya after two break-away runs from Senatla.
The speedy winger started the match in spectacular fashion, running 70 meters for a try in which he showcased his raw speed, before a second closed out the half and a 26-0 lead. Branco du Preez and Cecil Afrika scored between Senatla’s brace, with Du Preez converting three of the four tries scored.
Werner Kok opened the second half scoring before Kenya’s Jacob Ojee scored in what proved to be their only try in the match.
Rayno Benjamin then raced in to give Warrick Gelant an opportunity to convert and he did not disappoint.
South Africa 26, USA 0
The South African opened their tournament with a 26-0 Pool A win over the USA after leading 5-0 at the break.
The Americans attacked well in the opening minutes, but it was Senatla who scored the only try of the half.
The second half resulted in three more tries for the hosts, with Philip Snyman, Benjamin and Kok getting on the score sheet. Afrika converted two of those and Du Preez one.
There were plenty of tries to enjoy for a good first day crowd. The biggest results of the day, England beating Japan 45-0 and Australia hammering Zimbabwe 50-0 yielded seven and eight tries respectively.
There were few surprises on day one, but the USA’s beating of Wales in pool A did help them into the Cup. Argentina also outplayed Australia, finalists in Dubai last weekend. Japan’s win over Samoa was a real crowd pleaser.
The Cup quarter-finals to be played on Sunday are as follows:
12:19 - South Africa v England
12:41 - Fiji v Australia
13:03 - New Zealand v USA
13:25: Argentina v Scotland
The Bowl matches are:
10:51 - Wales v Samoa
11:13 - Canada v Zimbabwe
11:35 - Japan v Kenya
11:57 - Portugal v France
Results on Day One:
Pool A: South Africa 26, USA 0; Wales 29, Kenya 5; South Africa 38, Kenya 7; USA 38, Wales 12; USA 33, Kenya 5; South Africa 36, Wales 0.
Pool B: Argentina 31, Zimbabwe 5; Australia 33, Portugal 21; Argentina 14, Portugal 7; Australia 50, Zimbabwe 0; Portugal 19, Zimbabwe 5; Argentina 31, Australia 21
Pool C: Canada 14, Scotland 12; Fiji 45, France 5; Scotland 19, France 12; Fiji 26, Canada 7; France 24, Canada 21; Fiji 19, Scotland 12.
Pool D: England 45, Japan 0; New Zealand 24, Samoa 7; England 22, Samoa 7; New Zealand 29, Japan 0; Japan 17, Samoa 14; New Zealand 5, England 0.