The Springbok Sevens team delivered an encouraging performance on the opening day of the HSBC Canada Sevens in BC Place, Vancouver, winning all three their Pool A matches, including a great victory over the USA, the current HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series leaders.
South Africa will now face Argentina in the Cup quarterfinals of the tournament after wins over Chile (43-0), Wales (19-10) and USA (19-7). They scored 13 tries and conceded three. The match against Argentina will kick-off at 20h08 (SA time) on Sunday evening and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
They last met the Argentineans in Sydney, where South Africa won 25-10 in pool play, but with the South Americans finishing in the top four last weekend in Las Vegas, Blitzbok coach Neil Powell realises his team will have to start all over again on the second day of action in Vancouver.
“We played well today and it was probably our best performance on the opening day of a tournament since the series started – I think it was the first time where we won all three our pool matches,” said Powell.
“The guys really looked out well for one another, especially on defence. We stuck to our processes and it worked, but where we did not do so, the squad had each other’s back and that was pretty pleasing.”
It was a good start, but Powell knows his team can still improve: “We are developing and improving as a side and we did that yet again today. We want to judge ourselves on our own effort and development, so it was a good one in that regard, but we will always strive to do better.”
South Africa scored seven tries against Chile in their opening match, winning 43-0 and showing a huge improvement from last weekend, where they drew 5-5 in Las Vegas. JC Pretorius scored in the opening play and got a second as well, with Siviwe Soyizwapi and Selvyn Davids also getting a brace each. Muller du Plessis scored a late try, with Davids converting four of those for a personal contribution of 18 points.
The match against Wales was a much tighter affair. The Welsh took an early 5-0 lead before Philip Snyman’s 67th career try equalled things out. Tries by Davids and Pretorius either side of halftime secured a 19-10 win. Davids added two conversions.
A strong defensive effort against the USA aided the 19-7 win. Pretorius again scored first for the Blitzboks before Stedman Gans raced through for a 14-0 lead at the break. The top-ranked side pulled one back with a converted try, but another by Pretorius confirmed the win.
Head-to-head v Argentina:
Played 57, won 42, lost 14, drawn 1
Average score 22-10