The Springbok Sevens were too strong for Great Britain and won their Pool A decider 21-7 on Friday evening to finish unbeaten on the first day of the second HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in Dubai.
Their third win of the day booked the Blitzboks a date with Kenya in Saturday’s quarter-final action, which will kick off at 08h50 (SA time) in The Sevens Stadium.
On a dramatic day which saw double Olympic champions Fiji miss out on the Cup quarter-finals for only the second time in World Series history, South Africa extended their record winning streak to 21 matches.
Blitzbok coach Neil Powell said afterwards that although his side played well on attack, they somehow could not get into their full stride.
“Maybe that was due to our form of last weekend, with the teams coming out to throw everything at you,” said Powell.
Powell also pointed to some missed opportunities, such as a forward pass just before halftime against Ireland and their failure to score against Great Britain when their opponents had a man in the sin bin.
Powell was, however, encouraged by their defensive effort: “I think we really worked hard on our defensive system, although there are still some room for improvement.”
Regarding tomorrow’s quarter-final against Kenya in the knockout stages, Powell said: “An African derby will always be a physical one, so we have to make sure we make our tackles – we will have to make those one-on-ones stick.”
Against Great Britain, South Africa scored three converted tries through Zain Davids, Shilton van Wyk and Ronald Brown, while Branco du Preez (2) and Brown added the conversions. Alex Davis scored the only British try while Robbie Fergusson slotted the extras.
In their first match of the day, the Springbok Sevens scored eight tries in their 48-0 victory over Japan to start their quest for a second tournament win in two weeks. Interestingly, all of the eight tries were scored by a different player, with the Blitzboks scoring 24 unanswered points in each half.
Impi Visser, JC Pretorius, Shilton van Wyk and Siviwe Soyizwapi all got onto the scoresheet after an almost flawless first half, denying Japan any decent scoring chance. The second half was equally impressive, with Zain Davids, Selvyn Davids, Ronald Brown and Shaun Williams each crossing the whitewash for a comfortable win.
The Irish were rewarded for their determination when Aaron O’Sullivan crashed over in the left corner for a consolation converted try.
GAME 1: Springbok Sevens 48 (24) Japan 0
Springbok Sevens – Tries: Impi Visser, JC Pretorius, Shilton van Wyk, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Zain Davids, Selvyn Davids, Ronald Brown, Shaun Williams. Conversions: Branco du Preez (2), Brown (2).
GAME 2: Springbok Sevens 21 (7) Ireland 12 (0)
Springbok Sevens – Tries: Shilton van Wyk, Selvyn Davids, Impi Visser. Conversion: Branco du Preez, Ronald Brown (2).
Ireland – Tries: Terry Kennedy, Aaron O’Sullivan. Conversion: Mark Roche.
GAME 3: Springbok Sevens 21 (14) Great Britain 7 (7)
Springbok Sevens – Tries: Zain Davids, Shilton van Wyk, Ronald Brown. Conversions: Branco du Preez (2), Brown.
Great Britain – Try: Alex Davis. Conversion: Robbie Fergusson.
Saturday’s quarter-final draw:
07h44: Australia vs Ireland
08h06: Argentina vs Great Britain
08h28: USA vs France
08h50: Springbok Sevens vs Kenya