- The Springbok Sevens side opened their Hong Kong Sevens campaign with a 14-7 win over Ireland.
- A late try by Zain Davids proved the difference in treacherous conditions.
- South Africa will face New Zealand and Kenya on Saturday.
The Blitzboks held on for a 14-7 win over Ireland in their Pool D opener at the Hong Kong Sevens on Friday.
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It was a tightly contested encounter played in treacherous conditions, but Zain Davids' late try gave the South Africans a vital victory.
With the scores deadlocked at 7-7 and time running out, South Africa's concerted pressure deep in Irish territory paid off when Davids broke through to score in the corner.
With less than 10 seconds remaining, Ricardo Duarttee slotted the conversion from the corner to make the score 14-7 in SA's favour.
MATCH CENTRE | Hong Kong Sevens
There was time left for a restart though, as Ireland launched an attack from deep. They surged into the South African 22m area where they camped for close to three minutes in added time.
But resolute defence kept them at bay as the Blitzboks started their campaign on a high note, avenging the 14-5 defeat they suffered to Ireland in Los Angeles.
HUGE defence gets the win for @Blitzboks ??#HK7s | #ImpactMoment | @DHLRugby pic.twitter.com/llvq6zy0SY— World Rugby 7s (@WorldRugby7s) March 31, 2023
Victory over Ireland, just what the doctor ordered for the #Blitzboks at the #HK7s - more here: https://t.co/592aao8DSR ??????#BlitzIgnite pic.twitter.com/99qevFghtm— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) March 31, 2023
Earlier, SA opened the scoring through a try by Mfundo Ndhlovu midway through the first half. Ireland responded soon afterwards when Matthew McDonald dotted down.
The teams went into half-time level at 7-7, but South Africa came out bossing most of the second stanza.
The wet conditions made matters tricky, but the Blitzboks did enough to deserve their victory.
On Saturday, the Blitzboks tackle New Zealand (05:04 SA time) and Kenya (09:25) to conclude pool play.
SA 14 (7)
Tries: Mfundo Ndhlovu, Zain Davids
Conversions: Ricardo Duarttee (2)
Ireland 7 (7)
Try: Matthew McDonald
Conversion: Mark Roche