Cape Town - The Springbok Sevens finished the
first day of the Cape Town Sevens as one of three undefeated teams and
will face Fiji in the Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.
The Blitzboks outplayed Russia
40-5, France 31-5 and Kenya 26-7 in Pool A on a day that saw a number of upsets
in the Cape Town Stadium, with speedster Seabelo Senatla also reaching a
special milestone in the green and gold.
The Fijians were surprised by
Canada in their pool, while the USA also overcame last weekend's Dubai
finalists, New Zealand, in a convincing performance.
The sold-out crowd at the Cape
Town Stadium came to see the Blitzboks in action though, and the defending HSBC
World Rugby Sevens Series champions did not disappoint.
A record-breaking try-feat by
Senatla had the crowd buzzing early, with the Blitzboks’ all-time leading
try-scorer notching up a hat-trick against Russia, which was followed by his
200th try in the next match against France. He added a fifth one for
the day against Kenya for good measure.
Senatla became the fifth player
to reach 200 World Series tries, but achieved the feat in the fewest number of
tournaments - only 35. He joined an exclusive club which currently consists of
Dan Norton (England, 272), Collins Injera (Kenya, 246), Santiago Gomez Cora
(Argentina, 230) and Ben Gollings (England, 220).
Springbok Sevens coach Neil
Powell was happy with his team’s performance, especially the way they defended
in the final match against Kenya.
“We only conceded three tries
today, which was good, and our defensive structures stood up well, especially
against Kenya,” said Powell.
“There was the odd missed tackle
by an individual, but overall I am pleased with the way we defended. We have a
couple of things to work on, but to be fair to the guys, it was quite physical
Blitzbok captain Philip Snyman
said their performance on Sunday will determine if the performance in their
home tournament could be deemed a success: “It was windy, which affected the
passing, but the conditions were the same for all the teams.
“We could have executed a bit
better on attack at times, but we will work through those things and come back
strong on Sunday. All the guys have now experienced how it feels to play in
front of a packed Cape Town Stadium, so we can focus on executing on that we
need to out there.”
SA 26 Kenya 7
Ruhan Nel, Kyle Brown, Philip Snyman, Seabelo Senatla
Conversions: Branco du
Preez (2), Cecil Afrika
Conversion: Brian Tanga
SA 31 France 5
Kwagga Smith, Philip Snyman, Chris Dry, Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel
Conversions: Branco du Preez (2), Cecil Afrika
SA 40 Russia 5
Seabelo Senatla (3), Branco du Preez, Tim Agaba, Rosko Specman
Preez (3), Cecil Afrika, Justin Geduld
Cup quarter-finals for Sunday, December 10:
12:04: South Africa v Fiji
12:26: England v New Zealand
12:48: Canada v France
13:10: United Stated v Argentina