South Africa to face Fiji in Cape Town quarter-final
The Springbok Sevens finished the first day of the HSBC Cape Town Sevens as one of three undefeated teams and will face Fiji in the Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.
The Blitzboks outplayed Russia 40-5, France 31-5 and Kenya 26-7 in Pool A on a day that saw a number of upsets in the Cape Town Stadium, with speedster Seabelo Senatla also reaching a special milestone in the green and gold.
The Fijians were surprised by Canada in their pool, while the USA also overcame last weekend’s Dubai finalists, New Zealand, in a convincing performance.
The sold-out crowd at the Cape Town Stadium came to see the Blitzboks in action though, and the defending HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champions did not disappoint.
A record-breaking try-feat by Senatla had the crowd buzzing early, with the Blitzboks’ all-time leading try-scorer notching up a hat-trick against Russia, which was followed by his 200th try in the next match against France. He added a fifth one for the day against Kenya for good measure.
Senatla became the fifth player to reach 200 World Series tries, but achieved the feat in the fewest number of tournaments – only 35. He joined an exclusive club which currently consists of Dan Norton (England, 272), Collins Injera (Kenya, 246), Santiago Gomez Cora (Argentina, 230) and Ben Gollings (England, 220).
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell was happy with his team’s performance, especially the way they defended in the final match against Kenya.
“We only conceded three tries today, which was good, and our defensive structures stood up well, especially against Kenya,” said Powell.
“There was the odd missed tackle by an individual, but overall I am pleased with the way we defended. We have a couple of things to work on, but to be fair to the guys, it was quite physical out there.”
Blitzbok captain Philip Snyman said their performance on Sunday will determine if the performance in their home tournament could be deemed a success: “It was windy, which affected the passing, but the conditions were the same for all the teams.
“We could have executed a bit better on attack at times, but we will work through those things and come back strong on Sunday. All the guys have now experienced how it feels to play in front of a packed Cape Town Stadium, so we can focus on executing on that we need to out there.”
SA 26 Kenya 7
South Africa – Tries: Ruhan Nel, Kyle Brown, Philip Snyman, Seabelo Senatla. Conversions: Branco du Preez (2), Cecil Afrika.
Kenya – Try: Willie Ambaka. Conversion: Brian Tanga.
SA 31 France 5
South Africa – Tries: Kwagga Smith, Philip Snyman, Chris Dry, Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel. Conversions: Branco du Preez (2), Cecil Afrika.
France – Try: Stephan Parez.
SA 40 Russia 5
South Africa – Tries: Seabelo Senatla (3), Branco du Preez, Tim Agaba, Rosko Specman. Conversions: Du Preez (3), Cecil Afrika, Justin Geduld.
Russia – Try: Roman Roshchin.
Cup quarter-finals fixtures for Sunday, 10 December:
12h04: South Africa vs Fiji
12h26: England vs New Zealand
12h48: Canada vs France
13h10: United Stated vs Argentina