Blitzboks top Pool A in Dubai, face Samoa

01 December 2017 - 19:48 By Craig Ray
Canada's Isaac Kaay tackles South Africa's Cecil Afrika (C) during the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament on April 8, 2017.
Canada's Isaac Kaay tackles South Africa's Cecil Afrika (C) during the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament on April 8, 2017.
Image: Dale DE LA REY / AFP

It took a little while but after a slow start against Uganda, the Blitzboks found their groove to top Pool A on day one of the Dubai leg of the World Sevens Series.

After three wins against Uganda, Kenya and Canada, Neil Powell’s team will face Samoa in Saturday’s Cup quarterfinals.

The Pacific Islanders came through Pool D beating Argentina and the USA but losing to New Zealand.

If the Blitzboks beat Samoa they will face the winner of Fiji against Scotland in the semi-finals. They have every reason to feel confident after a mediocre start to day one against a fired up Uganda.

The defending champions were as rusty as a lighthouse window in their first match but still ground out a 19-10 win over their fellow Africans to make a satisfactory start.

Uganda and the Blitzboks had met on three previous occasions and the East Africans had never even scored a point against SA.

Solomon Okia made history when he burst away for Uganda’s first try against the Blitzboks early in the second half after Ruhan Nel and Philip Snyman scored first half tries for the defending champions.

From the restart to Okia’s try, Blitzbok playmaker Cecil Afrika broke from deep to set up Tim Agaba for the team’s third try.

By the time SA took on Kenya in game two, they were shiny and polished again with chief destroyer Seabelo Senatla back to his try-scoring best.

Senatla scored a hattrick while the rest of the team chipped in with tries from Branco du Preez, Cecil Afrika, Justin Geduld, Rosko Specman and Kwagga Smith to complete a resounding 48-5 win.

All that was left was to see off the abrasive Canadians, which the Blitzboks duly managed with a workman-like 28-0 win.

Du Preez, Afrika, Smith and Werner Kok all scored tries to eliminate Canada from Cup contention as Kenya went through as the second-placed team in Pool A.

*The SA Women’s team ended their tournament with defeat in the Challenge final against Ireland.

The South Africans bounced back from a disappointing effort on day one by beating Fiji 17-14 and then took Ireland all the way in the final of the Challenge Trophy, in the end losing 24-7

It was an important showing for the South African side, as they are not part of the core teams contesting the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series.