‘Lot of pride’ in performance as Blitzboks finish on a high in Perth
The Springbok Sevens finished their HSBC SVNS Perth campaign on a high by outplaying France for a 24-5 win in the fifth place playoff.
Argentina beat Australia 31-5 to wrap up their second successive tournament win and retain their place at the top of the standings. The Blitzboks are level in fourth place with Ireland after three tournaments, behind Australia and Fiji.
Springbok Sevens coach Sandile Ngcobo said the performance against France on Sunday morning does not make up for the 14-12 defeat to Fiji in the quarterfinal on Saturday, but the way the team concluded the tournament was pleasing.
“That result against Fiji again just showed the realities of this series — if you are only 1% off your game, your opponent gets a chance to beat you,” Ngcobo said.
“It was a tight one [against Fiji] and we did not get the bounce of the ball, but instead of letting our heads down, the guys bounced back today. There was a lot of pride in that performance against France.”
The Blitzboks were without the injured Quewin Nortje and Ronald Brown against France, but were a margin hungrier than their opponents and played with great enthusiasm. The opening try — with Shilton van Wyk intercepting and running 70m to score — might have been opportunistic, but the rest of their effort was a combination of teamwork and individual excellence.
Leading 7-0, Tristan Leyds scored a fine try after a flowing side-to-side attack handed the flyer his second dot in his debut tournament, which handed the Blitzboks a 12-0 led at the break.
The second half saw more of the same as the Blitzbok defence forced France backwards and when possession changed hands, they pounced.
Selvyn Davids scored his side's third try with a lovely shimmy before Donovan Don finished off another flowing move where the ball was moved wide from side to side and the winger going over in the corner. Don's try resulted in a 24-0 lead before France pulled one back in the last minute of play.
“It was clinical,” the coach said. “The guys showed a lot of hunger for this win and courage for the jersey. That was very pleasing to see.
“They also executed [the game plan] well. Everything we talked out before the game and how we wanted to approach it played out like that, which was great for everyone.”
Ryan Oosthuizen, the most experienced player for the Blitzboks in Perth, said they did not want to play for fifth place but commended the team performance.
“We came here to make semifinals and better, so it was disappointing coming off second against Fiji in a game that could have gone either way,” Oosthuizen said.
“That said, we did well today. Every point count in this format and we will take those for fifth place.
“We will go back home and prepare well and then we are off to Vancouver and Los Angeles, so we are lucky to have another opportunity so soon.”
South Africa 24 (12) — Tries: Shilton van Wyk, Tristan Leyds, Selvyn Davids, Donovan Don. Conversions: Ricardo Duarttee, Leyds.
France 5 (0) — Try: Esteban Capila.