The Springbok Sevens beat arch rivals New Zealand 31-21 to finish unbeaten and on top of Pool A at the Gold Coast Sevens on Saturday. The Blitzbokke will now face France in the first Cup quarterfinal match on Sunday at Skilled Park, which is scheduled to start at 3:48am (SA time).
All the action from day two of round one of the HSBC Sevens World Series will again be shown live on SuperSport 1. Thanks to their win over the All Blacks Sevens, South Africa were able to join hosts Australia and Samoa as the only undefeated teams in the competition after the opening days’ thrilling action.
The Blitzbokke raced into a commanding 31-7 lead against the reigning World Series champions and then took their foot off the pedal in the last three minutes, which allowed the Kiwis to score two converted tries.
The pleasing aspect for Springbok Sevens coach, Paul Treu, is the fact that his side delivered a dominant display against the powerhouse All Blacks Sevens without the hugely influential skipper and hooker, Kyle Brown, as well as scrumhalf Branco du Preez, who were both rested for the last pool A encounter.
Birthday boy Paul Delport scored two tries, while Cornal Hendricks followed up his earlier hat-trick against Canada with the game’s opening score. Veteran Frankie Horne and Stephan Dippenaar were the other tries scorers for the Blitzbokke.
South Africa showed their intent to run the ball and use their speedsters more on attack when they beat Canada 38-0 in the opening pool clash, with Hendricks scoring three tries. Skipper Brown promised a more attacking approach from his side this season, and this was evident when the Blitzbokke scored six tries from nine visits to Canada’s 22-metre area to register a clinical whitewash.
The USA did well to restrict them to a slim 12-7 lead – Tshotsho Mbovane and du Preez the try scorers – but the Blitzbokke cut loose in the second half to eventually score another impressive 35-7 victory thanks to second half tries from Du Preez, Brown and Delport.
Comment from Paul Treu, Springbok Sevens coach:
“I am pleased with the overall performance today. Our target was to win each of our three pool matches and we managed to do that by scoring more than 30 points in every game. Our defensive organisation was good and we took the chances which came our way to score some really good tries.
“I am also glad that we showed a good strong mentality, especially when the USA managed to restrict us during the first half. Against New Zealand, we managed to keep the momentum and putting them under pressure by looking after our own ball, which resulted in some well-executed tries.
“France is always a difficult and unpredictable outfit and we will have to focus throughout against them. They managed to beat us last season and they have some good attacking players, so we are in for a tough challenge.”
The Gold Coast Cup quarterfinal draw for Sunday is:
South Africa vs. France
Samoa vs. Fiji
Argentina vs. New Zealand
Australia vs. Kenya