Clinical Blitzboks to face World Series leaders USA in Hong Kong quarters

06 April 2019 - 16:39 By Craig Ray
Blitzboks star Werner Kok power over for his 100th career try.
Blitzboks star Werner Kok power over for his 100th career try.
Image: Springbok Sevens/Twitter

The Blitzboks advanced to the quarterfinals of the Hong Kong Sevens after winning all three Pool A matches on Friday and Saturday.

After beating Japan 22-7 on day one, the defending World Series champions returned on Saturday needing to finish the business against Scotland and Samoa.

The Blitzboks were clinical and efficient in both matches beating Scotland 26-10 before controlling the match comfortably against Samoa and winning 21-7.

SA set up a quarterfinal match against World Series leader the USA.

Springbok Sevens assistant coach, Renfred Dazel, said the team ended top because 'we took the physicality to them'.

"We had some hiccups in our game plan against Japan and even Scotland, but it went well against Samoa. We needed to be physical against them, did that and therefore managed to top the pool. We are pleased with that performance," said Dazel.

"We need to recover well overnight. Day three of a tournament is always taxing on the body, so we need to make sure we get back here tomorrow well prepared."

Against Scotland, it took all of six minutes for the Blitzboks to score as the Scots proved hard to crack. A try by Selvyn Davids was quickly followed by one from Stedman Gans to hand South Africa a 14-0 lead at the break.

An early try in the second half, by Ryan Oosthuizen, pushed the lead out to 21 points before Branco du Preez extended the lead with a try in the corner.

The Scots came back with two consolation tries.

Against Samoa, it was again patience on attack that kept South Africa's momentum. Impi Visser put SA into the lead after six minutes and the converted try was the only score of the half.

The second half saw more good work on attack, with Justin Geduld and Werner Kok scoring converted tries. Kok's effort was his 100th in the World Series. Samoa scored a late converted try, but the win was already in the bag for the Blitzboks.

Kok, who has scored three times so far in Hong Kong, thanked his teammates for the tries.

“I was just at the right place at the right time. I enjoy playing in the forwards and it is easy if everyone contributes.”

He said the USA match would be a tough one. “They are a tough side to play, but if we recover well we can give it our best shot on Sunday.”

The quarterfinals are (SA times)

04h48: South Africa v USA

05h20: Fiji v Argentina

05h42: England v Samoa

06h07: NZ v France