Blitzboks pay heavy price for progress in Singapore

28 April 2018 - 19:09 By Craig Ray
Neil Powell, head coach of South Africa, after the Rugby 7's semi final match between the Blitzboks and Fiji on day 11 of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Robina Stadium on April 15, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia.
Neil Powell, head coach of South Africa, after the Rugby 7's semi final match between the Blitzboks and Fiji on day 11 of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Robina Stadium on April 15, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia.
Image: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

The Blitzboks paid a high price for their progress to the quarterfinals of the Singapore leg of the World Sevens Series, losing captain Kyle Brown and star playmaker Rosko Specman to injury on day one.

The Blitzboks topped Pool C with wins over Samoa (26-15) and defending Singapore champions Canada (26-12) while also withstanding a brief scare against Argentina in their third Pool match before running out 26-12 winners.

SA will face Kenya in the quarterfinals, and should they win, will face the winner of Fiji and New Zealand in the semi-finals.

Specman suffered a shoulder injury in the act of scoring a spectacular try against Samoa while Brown suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury against Argentina.

Jack Murphy, the former Bishops boy and hockey player who only started playing rugby after matric, replaced Specman.

“I’m happy with the first day’s performances, and I don’t mean just the results, but the way the team looked after our systems,” coach Neil Powell said.

“It’s a huge loss losing Kyle an Rosko, who have massive experience, going in to day two of the tournament.

“But we have to see it as an amazing challenge for the youngsters who came in as replacements and filling those big boots.

“They've done well on day one and hopefully we can take that momentum into day two.”

The match against Argentina was a hard-fought affair, with the South American side needing to win to stay in the Cup competition.

Tries by Siviwe Soyizwapi (his 50th in the World Series) and Werner Kok has South Africa 12-0 up, but two quick-tries by Argentina has the scores tied up 12-all at the break.

The second half saw firm defence from the Blitzboks and two crucial interventions from Selvyn Davids. He first darted around a ruck to score before kicking downfield and allowing Muller du Plessis to show his pace and score.

Soyizwapi said he did not know the upcoming milestone.

"I was not counting to be honest, but playing with good teammates such as these around you, I am fortunate to finish off some of their work,” he said.

Soyizwapi scored his first try against Russia on debut in 2016 in Hong Kong and found his 50th as pleasing. "I remember that first one as if yesterday, as I will the 50th," he said.

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