The Springbok Sevens will play Argentina on Sunday in the quarter-finals of Sydney Sevens following three convincing Pool B wins on Saturday morning (SA time). They clinched top spot in Pool B with a 26-19 victory over Kenya. However, the team suffered two injuries in their opening match against Scotland when captain, Philip Snyman, and fellow forward Kwagga Smith both had to leave the field with injuries.
Smith got a bump on the shoulder while Snyman, who took over the captaincy from the injured Kyle Brown, suffered a wrist injury. They both sat out the two remaining pool matches. SA Sevens coach, Neil Powell, said they will assess the injuries to Snyman and Smith and make a call on their fitness in the morning (Australian time). Powell says: Our medical staff will examine them tonight and we will then make a call. Although we are down to ten players at the moment, we won’t take any risks though.’
He praised the team’s performance in the face of their extra workload. The Blitzbokke boss says: ‘Philip and Kwagga are two good, experienced forwards and it was tough on the boys to lose them in our first match. But the guys who came on did brilliantly and I am pleased for our win over Kenya.’ That victory meant the South Africans finished top of Pool B, which saw them paired against Argentina instead of Fiji in Sunday’s quarter-finals.
Powell says: ‘Argentina is a quality side, they are well coached and technically very good so it won’t be easy against them.’ Flying winger Seabelo Senatla was the leading try scorer last season. Halfway through round four of the current season he is already the frontrunner again with 24 tries to his name following his hat-trick against Scotland, two against Russia and another one in the triumph over Kenya.
South Africa led 19-12 against Kenya at half-time, who scored first through long serving Collins Injera. Senatla, Cheslin Kolbe and Rosco Specman then crossed the whitewash before Kenya hit back to reduce the deficit to 19-12. After the restart Senatla offloaded to Rosko Specman who ran in for his unconverted try.
But Kenya refused to give up and Oscar Ayoli soon crossed over for a converted try, to make for a tense finish. Earlier, the South Africans opened their campaign with two impressive wins. They shrugged off the double loss of Snyman and Smith with a good team performance against Scotland to kick off with a 33-7 win and followed that with a runway 40-0 victory over Russia.
Against Scotland, the impressive Specman sent Senatla over for his first try and then scored himself a minute later in the first half. Kolbe added a third to put them 19-0 in front at the break. Senatla scored again after halftime while Sandile Ngcobo, playing in only his second tournament, scored his first World Series try with an exceptional step.
Apart from Senatla, Carel Du Preez, Kolbe and Dylan Sage dotted down to add their names to the scoresheet against Russia. Former EP Kings loose forward Tim Agaba also made his Springbok Sevens debut against Scotland.
Photo credit: Martin Seras Lima