Sevens

Blitzboks down England, power into quarters

2018-04-07 17:30
Selvyn Davids (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Springbok Sevens team reached their seventh consecutive quarter-final of the 2017/18 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series on Saturday after wins over Scotland (31-17) and England (33-15) in their pool matches of the Hong Kong tournament.

They now meet Spain on Sunday for a place in the last four.

On Friday, the first day of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, they kicked off their Pool C commitments with a runaway 45-0 victory over South Korea. Their victories over Scotland and England meant the South Africans were able to match the powerful Fiji side as the only unbeaten team after three matches.

Spain defeated Australia on Friday and also Canada on Saturday to clinch second place in Pool B and they will now meet the Blitzboks in the second Cup quarter-final on Sunday. Kick-off is at 05:42.

The young South Africans, with no less than five World Series debutants in the squad, delivered a strong performance against Scotland and their three second-half tries proved to be the difference. They led 14-10 at the break but managed to score three unanswered tries in the second half to pull away from Scotland.

The Blitzboks were on the back foot from the start when the English scored with the opening play of the match. They conceded another try, however, converted tries from Stedman Gans and Selvyn Davids gave them a 14-10 half-time lead.

England were also first to score after the restart and took a narrow 15-14 lead. The young South Africans kept their composure and replied with tries through Gans, Davids and Ndhlovu to secure their undefeated status in the group stages.

Stand-in Springbok Sevens coach, Marius Schoeman, was afterwards understandably pleased with them topping their pool.

“We conceded some unnecessary points, especially against England, but it was mission accomplished as we wanted to top our pool,” said Schoeman.

Dewald Human, who is leading the Blitzboks in Hong Kong, said the team showed good character against England, when they came from behind to win against a strong opponent.

“We had to really dig deep today against two quality teams. We made some mistakes but worked hard to correct them and that is pleasing,” explained Human.

The draw for the Hong Kong Cup quarter-finals on Sunday (SA times):

04:58: Fiji v Argentina

05:20: South Africa v Spain

05:42: USA v New Zealand

06:07: Kenya vs Scotland

The Springbok Sevens squad:

1. Heino Bezuidenhout, 2. Ryan Oosthuizen, 3. Zain Davids, 4. Marco Labuschagne, 5. Mosolwa Mafuma, 6. James Murphy, 7. Selvyn Davids, 8. Dewald Human (captain), 9. Rhyno Smith, 10. Stedman Gans, 11. Muller du Plessis, 12. Mfundo Ndhlovu, 13. Sandile Ngcobo* 

*Official replacement player

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