Impressive Blitzboks unbeaten in Hong Kong

07 April 2018 - 15:08 By Craig Ray
South Africa's Stedman Gans (L) off loads the ball as England's Ben Howard (C) makes a tackle during the second day of the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament in Hong Kong on April 7, 2018.
South Africa's Stedman Gans (L) off loads the ball as England's Ben Howard (C) makes a tackle during the second day of the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament in Hong Kong on April 7, 2018.
Image: Isaac LAWRENCE / AFP

The callow Blitzbok side picked for Hong Kong leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series demonstrated impressive composure and skill to advance to the quarterfinals by winning their Pool.

The squad, that featured five World Series debutants at the start of the tournament, beat Scotland and England on Saturday to book a last eight clash against surprise qualifiers Spain.

On day one the Blitzboks beat South Korea 45-0 and backed that up with a 31-17 win over Scotland in their first match on day two.

England had earlier lost to Scotland and thrashed Korea, but needed to beat the Blitzboks by seven points or more to advance.

Had the Blitzboks lost by 17 or more points against England, they would have missed out on the last eight themselves.

But the young team showed no panic when England led 15-14 early in the second half. The SA youngsters responded with vibrant attaching play to score three more tries and take the match 33-15.

Spain opened their tournament by surprisingly beating a depleted Australia 17-12, who like the Blitzboks, left their firs choice players at home to prepare for the Commonwealth Games next week.

After losing 26-0 to Kenya in game two, Spain secured a quarterfinal place for only the second time in history with a 17-12 win over Canada.

“We are working well," said Spain captain Francisco Hernandez. "The Pool was very tough for us but to get into the Cup quarter-finals during the season makes us very happy."

Chasing their fourth consecutive Hong Kong title, Fiji were one of just two unbeaten sides in the pool stages alongside the Blitzboks.

Fiji, who are almost at full strength, thrashed New Zealand 50-7 in their final pool match and are on course to meet South Africa in the semi-finals if they overcome Argentina and the Blitzboks beat Spain.


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