Blitzboks off to winning start in Hong Kong

2017-04-07 15:00
Cecil Afrika (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Blitzboks are off to a winning start at the Hong Kong Sevens after beating France 17-10 in their tournament opener on Friday. 

Cecil Afrika, South Africa's all-time leading points scorer, led out the sides at Hong Kong Stadium as he started his 50th World Series tournament. 

South Africa were fastest out of the blocks as they scored tries through Siviwe Soyizwapi and Branco du Preez to take a 10-0 lead, but the French hit back through Terry Bouhraoua and Jean Pascal Barraque to go into the break locked at 10-10. 

Afrika then scored the first try of the second half - his 146th try in World Series rugby - to give the Blitzboks a 17-10 lead after Branco du Preez's conversion was good.  

South Africa, 23 points ahead of England in the 2016/17 World Rugby Sevens Series standings, have won four of the six tournaments so far this season. 

The Blitzboks will meet Kenya (07:56) and Canada (11:56) on Saturday morning in their final two Pool B matches. 

Coach, Neil Powell, was not too critical of his team's performance.

"It was a long day and we only played 20h40 at night in the last match of the day, so it was not that easy to keep the guys focussed," Powell said.

"We made some errors out there and that helped France to stay in the game, but we will be a better team because of it. Some of the youngsters got the opportunity to stretch their legs as well and they will benefit from that experience. They were put in pressure situations at the end of the match where they were supposed to keep the ball and they didn't, but that is how you learn."

The coach is pleased that the first match is out of the way.

"France is never an easy opponent and they pushed us all the way. It was a good start as it showed some areas we need to concentrate on better on Day Two. Which is exactly what we plan to do,” said Powell.

The Springbok Sevens squad for the Hong Kong Sevens:

1. Chris Dry
2. Philip Snyman (captain)
3. Dylan Sage
4. Zain Davids
5. Werner Kok
6. Siviwe Soyizwapi
7. Branco du Preez
8. Tim Agaba
9. Selvyn Davids
10. Cecil Afrika
11. Stedman Gans
12. Ruhan Nel
13. Ryan Oosthuizen*

*Travelling reserve


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