Cape Town - The Springbok Sevens team will face Kenya in the Singapore Sevens Cup quarter-finals on Sunday, but will take to the field at the National Stadium without skipper Kyle Brown and World Rugby Player of the Year 2017 nominee, Rosko Specman.
Specman injured his shoulder in the first match of the day against Samoa and ruled out for the remainder of the tournament. James Murphy, the travelling reserve player, replaced him.
The Blitzboks overcame Samoa 26-15 and Canada 26-12 to qualify for the quarters, but still had to beat Argentina to remain unbeaten on day one. They did that, winning 26-12, but unfortunately saw Brown been stretchered off after a knee injury.
Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, said the loss of two of his stalwarts is a setback, but creates an opportunity for the next player.
“We knew coming into the tournament that we were in a very physical pool, but losing Rosko and Kyle is a real setback, especially due to the experience they provided. There is a nice opportunity now for the players stepping into their roles. We will be watching on with interest on how they do on Sunday.”
The coach was pleased with day one's overall performances.
“I am happy with our performances overall. We defended well and the guys trusted the system. We are still not as sharp on attack; we need to keep the ball a bit more."
Against Samoa, the Blitzboks were held in check in the first half by the Samoans, who managed to keep the ball in contact for some time. Werner Kok raced from way out to put SA on the board before Siviwe Soyizwapi added a second. Samoa pulled one back, but tries by Rosko Specman and Muller du Plessis eased out the game.
Specman, unfortunately, sustained a shoulder injury in his dive to the line.
Against Canada, the defending champions scored first to go 7-0 up, but tries by Soyizwapi and Afrika grabbed the lead back at halftime, 14-7. Canada scored again after the restart, but a brace by Selvyn Davids confirmed a good win.
The match against Argentina was a hard-fought affair, with the South American side needing to win to stay in the Cup competition.
Tries by Siviwe Soyizwapi (his 50th in the World Series) and Werner Kok has South Africa 12-0 up, but two quick-tries by Argentina has the scores tied up 12-all at the break.
The second half saw firm defence from the Blitzboks and two crucial interventions from Selvyn Davids. He first darted around a ruck to score before kicking downfield and allowing Muller du Plessis to show his pace and score.
Soyizwapi said he did not know the upcoming milestone.
"I was not counting to be honest, but playing with good teammates such as these around you, I am fortunate to finish off some of their work."
Soyizwapi scored his first try against Russia on debut in 2016 in Hong Kong and found his 50th as pleasing. "I remember that first one as if yesterday, as I will the 50th," he said.
Springbok Sevens scorers:
v Samoa - Tries: Werner Kok, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Rosko Specman, Muller du Plessis. Conversions: Cecil Afrika (3).
v Canada -Tries: Siviwe Soyizwapi, Cecil Afrika, Selvyn Davids (2). Conversions: Cecil Afrika (3)
v Argentina -Tries: Siviwe Soyizwapi, Werner Kok, Selvyn Davids, Muller du Plessis. Conversions: Selvyn Davids (3).
Cup quarters schedule:
06:30: Fiji v New Zealand
06:52: South Africa v Kenya
07:14: Australia v Spain
07:36: England v Samoa