The Springbok Sevens team on Saturday scored 50 unanswered points against Russia and overcame Scotland 31-0 in their remaining pool B matches at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens to qualify for a seventh consecutive HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Cup quarterfinal.
The South Africans finished second in pool B and will face the USA in the last eight, a match they are looking forward to, according to Springbok Sevens captain, Kyle Brown.
“The USA have been building steadily through the last six months to a year. They continue to improve. We have played them a couple of times this year and we are looking forward to face them again.”
South Africa have won 33 of the 38 matches between the sides, with the average score 26-8 in their favour. The teams last met in Las Vegas in the bronze final, where South Africa won 21-10.
The team’s first hurdle today was qualifying for the last eight in the Cup and after yesterday’s poor show against England, played with much more urgency from the outset. They defended very well and only missed five tackles in the two matches.They had patience on attack in their opening match against Russia, something that was needed, said Brown.
“We knew Russia would be tough. We kept it basic and we kept it very simple and we got through the phases that we needed to.”
The Blitzboks ran rampant in the second half of the match, scoring seven tries in all.
Scotland were resilient in the first half of the match, but their defences became stretched in the second half and the Blitzboks made them pay, with three tries scored in the seven minutes played.
“Scotland is a tough team to play as you have to graft hard to break them down. We had to put up the phases and score one or two tries before we could really open the gates,” Brown said.”
The Russia match saw a first appearance and soon after he joined the fray, a try to debutant Siviwe Soyizwapi.
“It was an amazing feeling. First the honour to take the field for this team and then to score a try was very special,” the winger said.
He also scored against Scotland. “With world class players around you, it is easy to score tries,” said Soyizwapi.
The quarterfinals against the USA will be a tough encounter, warned Blitzbok forward, Philip Snyman, who is playing in his 35th tournament.
“They are a tough team to play in a knock-out stage of any competition, but I think we showed lots of character today. We came back well following Friday’s disappointment and we continue playing like today, the results will come. We need to stick together as brothers and believe in our abilities and the structures from coach Neil Powell,” Snyman said.
•Cecil Afrika extended his point’s tally as South Africa’s leading scorer in the World Series to 1039.
•Seabelo Senatla scored three tries to up his tally to 46 for the season. It is the most by any player playing in the series.
South Africa 50 (19), Russia 0 (0). Tries for South Africa by Ruhan Nel, Branco du Preez, Seabelo Senatla, Kwagga Smith, Cecil Afrika, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Justin Geduld, Stephan Dippenaar. Conversions: Branco du Preez (5)
South Africa 31 (14), Scotland 0 (0). Tries for South Africa by Ruhan Nel (2), Seabelo Senatla, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Stephan Dippenaar. Conversions: Justin Geduld (3).
Hong Kong Sevens Cup quarterfinals line-up:
New Zealand vs Wales
South Africa v USA (05h20 SA time)
Fiji vs Kenya
England vs Australia