A Seabelo Senatla hat-trick paved the way for an impressive 29-7 victory for the Springbok Sevens over France at the Hong Kong Sevens on Saturday. South Africa finished top of Pool C after winning all three group matches and will now play Australia at 05:13 (SA time) on Sunday in the Cup quarter-finals. After a second day of all out action South Africa, New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, Samoa, Argentina and England all booked their places in the all-important Cup quarters.
The much improved USA did likewise after they managed to hold England to a thrilling 21-all draw. Senatla used his electric speed on the wing to bag three tries and push his World Series tally for the season to 34, with the final day still to come at the 40th anniversary edition of the Hong Kong Sevens. However, the impressive Blitzbokke display on day two of this popular tournament was marred by the knee injury suffered by versatile forward Philip Snyman, who left the field against France in the second half.
Kyle Brown and Werner Kok scored either side of Stephan Parez’s (France) try for the South Africans, who increased their lead in the second half thanks to two more tries by Senatla. Afterwards Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell said he was pleased with especially the defensive display of his team: ‘We pride ourselves on our defense and I am pleased we were able to do really well in that area and only conceded one try in three matches.’ Powell said the overall performance from this team was exactly what he expected: ‘Our main aim was to top our pool and to qualify for the quarter-finals. What was more important for me was how we managed to play, and the players did really well. They got the basics spot on and took their opportunities really well. So overall, it’s been two good days so far. Now it’s up to us to do the same against Australia tomorrow morning.’
Earlier on Saturday the Blitzbokke scored five tries and managed to again keep their opponents from scoring when they defeated Japan 27-0. They outclassed Argentina 24-0 on Friday to get their Hong Kong campaign off to a winning start. Kok, Cecil Afrika, Stephan Dippenaar, Kwagga Smith and Rosko Specman all scored a try each as South Africa won comfortably in their second group match against Japan.
Specman scored his first World Series try while Dippenaar also celebrated his return from a long injury layoff with a fine effort.
Photo credit: Roger Sedres/ImageSA