Blitsbokke recover from early loss to book clash against Kenya

2015-02-07 00:00

THE Blitsbokke recovered from a shaky start at the Wellington Sevens to book their spot in the tournament quarter-finals ­yesterday at the fourth leg of the HSBC Sevens Series.

Neil Powell’s charges did not enjoy the ideal start as they unexpectedly lost 22-5 to France in the opening clash of the day. ­Perhaps the pressure of their top-dog status on the series log was a burden, but the Blitsbokke produced too many errors that does not bode well for the rest of the tournament.

But a couple of clinical performances against the United States and Japan saw the Blitsbokke recover and end second in Pool A, pitting them against Kenya in their quarter-final clash today, who topped Pool D alongside Scotland.

South Africa’s poor outing against France came down to some elementary errors and indiscretions at the breakdown. The French hit the Boks hard with some powerful runs and a try from Kwagga Smith was scant consolation.

However, the Boks returned to their winnings ways against the U.S. Looking more like the side who won the Dubai and Port Elizabeth sevens, the Blitsbokke were clinical on attack and far more ruthless on defence.

Smith was again industrious, scoring two tries against the Americans, while Cecil Afrika and Seabelo Senatla also dotted down. Mention must be made of Werner Kok, whose work in the midfield helped pave the way for his team-mates.

Their final outing of the pool stages was against Japan and the South Africans never looked like losing. Despite conceding a try late in the second half, the Blitsbokke were firmly in control.

Kok scored a solid try as a reward for his bullish work on attack and defence, while Senatla, Bulls wing Warrick Gelant and Cheetahs flyer Phillip Snyman also crossed the whitewash.

The second win meant the Blitsbokke finished second in the pool, while the U.S. topped it with massive wins over Japan and France.

Putting the first day behind them will be crucial for the Blitsbokke and Powell will be urging his charges to up their intensity, especially on defence, if they are to claim their third series win.

The Blitsbokke top the series standings and will look to keep that spot as they eye qualification for the Olympics next year.

In today’s other cup quarter-finals, U.S. take on Scotland and Fiji meet England, while a clash of the titans sees New Zealand take on Australia.


SA 5 France 22, SA 24 Japan 7, SA 26 U.S. 14.

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