Powell satisfied as Blitzboks move into quarters

2017-03-04 09:59
Neil Powell (Gallo Images)

Vegas - The Blitzboks on Saturday secured their fifth consecutive Cup quarter-final appearance of the 2016/17 World Rugby Sevens Series.

Scoring 57 points and conceding only seven at the Las Vegas Sevens, being played at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, South Africa dominated the day with two solid wins to stay on track for a fourth tournament win for the year.

The Blitzboks scored a 26-7 win over Canada and then eased past France 31-0 to top the pool and secured a spot amongst the top eight sides in the tournament. They still face Wales in their final pool A match, but the result will not affect South Africa's qualification to the Cup quarters.

A pleased Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, complimented his players.

"My biggest concern was whether the guys who came in for Seabelo (Senatla) and Kwagga (Smith) would be able to slot in, as those two were very solid on defence, but they did. Defensively they trusted the system and delivered, while on attack, we played some good rugby," Powell said.

"We have some serious firepower in the team."

The coach closed the door on the day one performance though, with the focus moving to Wales in their last pool match.

"We need to put these matches behind us and make sure we come back strong again when we face Wales. That match will be important as it must provide the momentum and rhythm going into the Cup quarters later in the day," he said.

South Africa faced a determined Canada in their opening match and trailed 7-5 at the break, but solid contributions by Justin Geduld and Rosko Specman resulted in a commanding win.

The North Americans scored an early try through John Moonlight, before a strong run by Ruhan Nel left defenders trailing and resulted in a first try for his side.

The second half was much more to South Africa’s liking. Branco du Preez, playing in his 50th tournament for South Africa, made a massive try-saving tackle to prevent Canada from extending their lead and when Geduld's playmaking abilities kicked in, it was all over. Specman scored a brace and Du Preez converted his own try to secure a 26-7 win.

Against France, the Blitzboks played with much more fluency and delivered a pleasing performance. Geduld again was very prominent, scoring two and setting up Specman for his third of the tournament as South Africa raced to a 17-0 lead at the break. The second half saw much of the same, as Siviwe Soyizwapi and Werner Kok scored tries. Du Preez's conversion of Kok's try was his 300th in the series.

Justin Geduld (18) and Rosko Specman (15) were the leading points' scorers for the team.

The Springbok Sevens team face Wales in the final pool A clash at 02h08 Sunday morning. They played Wales 42 times before, winning 41 of those. The average score between the two sides is 27-8 to the Blitzboks. The teams last met in Cape Town in December last year, with South Africa winning 33-0. 


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