The Springboks Sevens won all three of their Pool D matches at the Emirates Dubai Sevens tournament on Friday to reach the Cup quarter-finals. The tournament is Round 2 of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Blitzbok Kwagga Smith scored the all-important try against Wales in their final pool encounter to clinch the match 12-5 and enabled South Africa to finish the day unbeaten and on top of their group. There was some consolation for the Welsh, who managed to qualify for the knockout round on Saturday courtesy of a superior points-difference despite their loss against Canada.
South Africa started the day with a comprehensive 36-0 win over Portugal and then defeated Canada 24-12 in their second outing. Werner Kok helped himself to a hat-trick of tries against Portugal, while Seabelo Senatla also crossed over to score his 50th World Series try. The other scorers were Cecil Afrika and Philip Snyman, while Branco Du Preez kicked three conversions.
Canada offered more resistance against the Blitzbokke in their second encounter of the day. Tries by Afrika and Du Preez gave the South Africans a 12-0 lead while Canadian captain John Moonlight kept his side within touching distance with his well-worked try just before the half-time. Sean Duke drew the teams level after the restart after he had broken through the Blitzbok defence, but South Africa hit back with a classic kick-and-chase try involving Du Preez and Afrika.
Du Preez took a quick penalty and having spotted a huge gap behind the Canadian defenders, lofted a beautifully weighted chip kick which Afrika gathered to score under the posts. Du Preez used the same tactic a minute later which enabled Senatla to collect and touch down. The Welsh made their intensions clear from the start, pinning the Blitzbokke in their own half with solid tackling and some clever running.
Will Harries gave Wales a deserved lead with his unconverted try, however, Kok raced through for another marvelous individual try to put the Springbok Sevens 7-5 ahead at half-time. A lapse in concentration by Wales saw them concede a try almost immediately after the restart. However, they played with great determination for the rest of the half to restrict South Africa to a narrow 12-5 win.
Springbok Sevens scorers:
SA vs Portugal
SA 36 – Tries: Werner Kok 3, Seabelo Senatla, Cecil Afrika and Philip Snyman. Conversions: Branco Du Preez 3.
SA vs Canada
SA 24 – Tries: Cecil Afrika 2, Branco Du Preez and Seabelo Senatla. Conversions: Branco Du Preez 2.
Canada 12 – Tries: Johnny Moonlight and Sean Duke. Conversion: Sean Duke.
SA vs Wales
SA 12 – Tries: Werner Kok and Kwagga Smith. Conversion: Branco Du Preez.
Wales 5 – Try: Will Harries.