Blitzbokke Over First Hurdle In Hong Kong

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 Hong Kong Sevens to qualify for a seventh consecutive World Rugby Sevens Series Cup quarter-final.  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, who says:  ‘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.  Brown says:  ‘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 Blitzbokke 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 Blitzbokke made them pay, with three tries scored in the seven minutes played.  Brown says:  ‘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.’  The Russia match saw a first appearance and soon after he joined the fray, a try to debutant Siviwe Soyizwapi.

The winger says:  ‘It was an amazing feeling. First the honour to take the field for this team and then to score a try was very special.’  He also scored against Scotland.  Soyizwapi says:  ‘With world class players around you, it is easy to score tries.’

The quarter-finals against the USA will be a tough encounter, warned Blitzbok forward, Philip Snyman, who is playing in his 35th tournament.  He says:  ‘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.’

Photo credit: Martin Seras Lima