Cape Town - The Springbok Sevens team will face England in the Cup quarter-finals of the Dubai Sevens on Saturday after they topped Pool A at the end of the first day of the event, played at The Sevens on Friday.
The Blitzboks topped their pool despite losing by 19-12 to Argentina in their final match of the day, thanks to a superior points’ differential in the opening tournament of the World Rugby Sevens Series. The South American side will do battle with Australia, who beat England in their final Pool D match to finish top.
Earlier in the day, the Blitzboks beat Zimbabwe 31-0 and Samoa 19-12, but coach Neil Powell was not happy that they could not sustain their effort in the latter stages if their match against Argentina.
The Blitzboks surged ahead 12-0 before the Argentinians came back in the second half, scoring the match-winning try at the death after Siviwe Soyizwapi was sin-binned for a high tackle, following an earlier indiscretion by Impi Visser.
“We played six great minutes of rugby against Argentina, but then our discipline let us down – the two yellow cards were costly and it is something we need to improve on come Saturday,” said Powell.
“It was a good day in that we have a lot of positives to take out of the three matches, but those mistakes made will keep us honest on the second day. We need to show up with the right attitude in the morning.”
The Blitzboks opened the defence of their Dubai Sevens title in strong fashion against Zimbabwe. It took a while to get into their stride against their African neighbours in the opening match, but a number of deft touches by Justin Geduld soon had the Zimbabwean defences broken.
Soyizwapi, Branco du Preez and Kyle Brown scored tries off his kicks, while Rosko Specman also scored a brace. Du Preez (2) and Geduld added conversions.
Against Samoa, it took the Blitzboks six minutes to get their first try as they struggled against a rugged and physical defence. Soyizwapi scored first and Du Preez's conversion made it 7-0. Samoa scored from the restart though and scores were tied at the break.
The second half saw Werner Kok extending the lead to seven points again, but a Samoan intercept try closed the lead to 14-12. But a late try by Muller du Plessis sealed the win.
Justin Geduld took a hard knock in the match and was ruled out of the tournament afterwards. He was replaced by Selvyn Davids.
The Cup quarter-finals are (SA time):
09:00: South Africa v England
09:22: New Zealand v Scotland
09:44: Australia v Argentina
10:06: Fiji v USA