The Springbok Women Sevens on Friday booked their place in the quarter-final of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series Qualifier in Hong Kong to keep alive their hopes of possibly securing a spot among the core teams in the 2014/2015 World Series. South Africa started the tournament on an encouraging note with a 21-19 victory against France, but went down 31-7 against China in their second pool match. The team, however, bounced back strongly and thumped Mexico 36-0 in their final match of the day to book their place in the quarter-final on Saturday against the Netherlands.
In their opening game France had the first say as they scored an early try, but a stunning individual try by flyhalf and captain Zenay Jordaan forced South Africa into a 7-5 lead, which they were able to hold onto until the break. They managed to build on their lead early in the second half with a try by Veroeshka Grain, who won a penalty and took a quick tap after which she stretched over the try line. Centre Lorinda Brown scored their third try of the match after finding a gap and sprinting to the try line, which handed the team a 21-5 lead.
France reduced the deficit in the dying minutes of the clash, but their efforts were not enough to seal a victory. China’s fast-paced game and smart attacking plan to stretch the South African defence, meanwhile, allowed them to run riot against the Bok Women. This combined with a strong defensive effort resulted in Jordaan and her team being pinned in their own half for most of the match and having to feed off scraps on attack.
South Africa, however, dominated the clash against Mexico from the outset as they tested the defence and managed to take advantage of the gaps thanks to their impressive off-loading and support play. They also did well to capitalise on Mexico’s mistakes. In total they scored six tries, while they denied Mexico from coming close to their tryline throughout the match.
South Africa will face the Netherlands in the quarterfinal at 05h22 South African time on Saturday morning. In the other quarterfinals Fiji will meet Portugal, China takes on Brazil and France will battle it out with Japan.