Blitzboks to face NZ in quarters

2016-04-16 15:00
Blitzbokke coach Neil Powell is questioned by media after the squad arrived back in Cape Town on Tuesday (Gallo Images).

Cape Town - Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, was a pleased man following the opening day of the Singapore Sevens on Saturday, where the Blitzboks secured wins over Scotland (33-0), Russia (21-10) and Kenya (14-0) to top pool C.

They will now play New Zealand in the quarter-finals in the Singapore National Stadium on Sunday. Kick-off is at 06:20 (SA time).

"We ticked all the boxes today, so I am pleased. We had a bad first half against Russia. I gave a couple of guys from the bench a chance to start and they were perhaps a bit-over eager to do things and did not look after the systems in place.

Luckily we had enough time to pull it back, thanks to the guys coming off the bench," Powell said.

"We saw with some of the other leading teams also losing today that teams tend to be less sharp on Day One following the hype from the Hong Kong tournament the week before and almost fell in the same hole. We must give the guys credit for the day they came through Day One."

The team started well in the opening match against Scotland, scoring in the opening minute via Kwagga Smith, converted by Justin Geduld. Tim Agaba also scored a converted try before the break. In the second half, Seabelo Senatla reached the 50 mark in tries for the season.

"I wasn't really focussed on that, but I suppose a half century in any sport is good, so I am pleased to move past the fifty mark," Senatla said.

"We needed to take control today and I think we did, so I am really looking forward to tomorrow(Sunday)."

The match against Russia looked an easy one before the time, but the Blitzboks had to scramble.

Trailing 12-0 with four minutes to go, two quick fire tries by Smith saw the lead overhauled and the result secured.

"We had to work hard out there today(Saturday). We did good things and bad things and need to learn from the mistakes we made," Smith said.

"In all, we did what we had to do and if we stay humble and keep our feet on the ground on Sunday, we will do well."

Against Kenya, two tries by Senatla on either side of halftime proved the difference between the two African sides.

The Cup quarter-finals are:
05:58: Fiji v Australia
06:20: South Africa v New Zealand
06:42: Argentina v Samoa
07:04: France v Kenya

Read more on:    blitzboks  |  neil powell  |  rugby


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