Unbeaten Blitzboks set up Samoa showdown in Paris


Cape Town – The Springbok Sevens team qualified for their 10th consecutive World Rugby Sevens Series quarter-final after beating Wales 22-7, Kenya 29-12 and Australia 19-17 in their Pool B matches of the Paris Sevens on Saturday.

They now face Samoa in the Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.

South Africa are the only side to top their pool in all 10 tournaments, but according to Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell, they have not always continued with that good form on Day 2 of tournaments.

“It is important to show up against Samoa. We have tripped ourselves up in the past and will be careful not to do so again. We will look at what we did today and where we need to improve and will have a look at Samoa’s strengths and weaknesses,” Powell said.

He was pleased with most of Day 1’s showing.

“I am very happy with the first two matches. It is always tough playing against teams fighting for their survival in the series. They have to win to keep their chances alive and we did well to keep Wales and Kenya out.”

The third match, against Australia, was a tight affair.

“The first three minutes against Australia was great, but then we lost some structure. We need to be better than that, but it was a good win in the end.”

In their first match, the Welsh held possession for most of the first half, with outstanding defence by the Blitzboks keeping them out away from the tryline. Muller du Plessis scored after six minutes of play when the South Africans managed to get their hands on the ball. Branco du Preez converted in what was the only score of the half.

The second half started well for South Africa with Cecil Afrika, back in the team after a year on the sideline, dummied his way over the line, before Du Preez used his soccer skills to get his 93rd career five-pointer.

Wales scored a breakaway try when Joe Goodchild intercepted a pass, but Mfundo Ndhlovu finished off a strong run and a 22-7 win.

Kenya came hard at the Blitzboks in the breakdown area, but an early try by Du Plessis gave his team some confidence. Siviwe Soyizwapi then rounded his man beautifully to score in the corner and pushed the lead to 10-0.

Kenya scored twice in quick succession though, with their second long after the half-time buzzer to hold a 12-10 lead.

The Blitzboks’ bench provided big impact though. After Du Plessis scored a second to edge his side ahead, tries by Impi Visser and Ndhlovu eased out the game. Both were converted by Dewald Human.

The match against Australia, who edged the Blitzboks 29-22 in London a week ago, was intriguing to say the least.

The South Africans started well with two quick tries, by Justin Geduld and JC Pretorius respectively. Both were converted and the Blitzboks seemed to be in control, especially after Australia was shown a yellow card with two minutes left of the half.

The men in yellow showed some urgency though and scored twice in that time to go into half-time still in the contest.

The next try, fairly early in the second half, proved crucial as Impi Visser found space afforded by a great pass from Justin Geduld and he crashed over for his 13th try of the season, pushing the Blitzboks lead out to nine points.

Australia came back again, with Will Maddocks scoring a converted try to cut the lead to two.

But the Blitzboks kept their defence intact and won the match, with the result sending Australia out of Cup contention, with Kenya sneaking into the second Cup quarters spot.

Scorers:

South Africa v Wales

South Africa

Tries: Muller du Plessis, Cecil Afrika, Branco du Preez, Mfundo Ndhlovu

Conversion: Du Preez

Wales

Try: Joe Goodchild

Conversion: Ethan Davies

South Africa v Kenya

South Africa

Tries: Muller du Plessis (2), Siviwe Soyizwapi, Impi Visser, Mfundo Ndhlovu

Conversions: Dewald Human (2)

Kenya

Tries: Jacob Ojee, Andrew Ormonde

Conversion: Michael Wanjala

South Africa v Australia

South Africa

Tries: Justin Geduld, JC Pretorius, Impi Visser

Conversions: Branco du Preez (2)

Australia

Tries: Matthew Wood, Maurice Longbottom, Will Maddocks

Conversion: Lewis Holland

Cup quarter-finals:

Fiji v Japan – 11:28

United States of America v Kenya – 11:50

New Zealand v Argentina – 12:12

South Africa v Samoa – 12:34



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Source link : https://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/Sevens/unbeaten-blitzboks-set-up-samoa-showdown-in-paris-20190601

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Publish date : 2019-06-01 17:25:00

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