Unbeaten Blitsbokke to face Fijans

2012-02-04 00:00

SOUTH Africa finished their pool schedule unbeaten and will play against Fiji early today (4.49 am SA time) in one of the mouth-watering Cup quarter-final clashes of the New Zealand Sevens in Wellington.

The Springbok Sevens came from behind to beat England 14-10 in their final Pool B match earlier to top their group and advance unbeaten to the knockout phase of the fourth HSBC Sevens World Series event of the season.

Fiji booked their place thanks to a convincing 19-0 win over Wales, who failed to advance after Tonga had managed to top Pool C.

Tom Mitchell gave England a 5-0 lead at half-time against South Africa, who struggled to get their hands on the ball during the first half. Two converted tries by Mark Richards and Branco du Preez gave South Africa the lead before Greg Barden scored England’s second try right at the end.

Earlier, the Blitsbokke got their campaign off to a good start with convincing victories over the USA (21-0) and the Cook Islands (43-0). IRB Sevens Player of the Year Cecil Afrika scored a brace and Steven Hunt also dotted down against the United States, who are still searching for their first win after 20 attempts against the Blitsbokke.

Afrika, who was rested for the final match of the day against England, scored another try and added three conversions against the Cook Islands, which enabled him to surpass 650 points in the World Series. Cornal Hendricks (2), Hunt, Paul Delport, Boom Prinsloo and Frankie Horne all scored for South Africa.

Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu, who also rested Kyle Brown against England, said he was pleased with the team’s overall performance. “We started a bit slow against the USA, got our into our rhythm against the Cook Islands and played a good, structured match against a strong England side. While I’m happy that we managed to win all three our pool matches, we all know that what really counts is how well you play on day two. Cecil and Kyle each played two hard matches and we thought it would be in the best interest of the team to rest them against England,” said Treu.

Fiji is always a dangerous opponent, but Treu said his team would focus on achieving their own targets. “We have our goals and will focus on those instead of other things. Hopefully, we will be able to keep the momentum from the start tomorrow.”

QUARTER-FINAL DRAW

New Zealand v France, Canada v Samoa, Tonga v England, South Africa v Fiji.

SuperSport will show matches live from Wellington.

— Sports Reporter.

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