A solid 22-5 win over Australia on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Rugby Sevens tournament secured Team South Africa a final four finish at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The South Africans will now meet Team Great Britain on Thursday in the second of the two semifinals, with Fiji and Japan contesting the other spot in the final of the tournament. The Fiji/Japan clash is at 19h30 SA time and South Africa take on TEAM GB at 20h00 SA time.
Against Australia, it was a strong showing by South Africa from the start. They scored after four minutes through Rosko Specman and another soon after when Seabelo Senatla jogged in untouched after some delightful interplay.
Australia fought back, scoring a try just before the break, giving the Blitzboks a 10-5 lead at the break.
The second half saw strong defence by the South Africans forcing Australia into mistakes. Kyle Brown scored from a line-out close to the try-line and Senatla bagged a second when Juan de Jongh kicked ahead and Philip Snyman provided a strong chase.
Earlier in the day, South Africa lost 12-5 to Australia in their final pool B match, but the result did not stop the Blitzboks from topping the pool. Australia finished seventh overall for a re-match with South Africa.
Team SA Rugby Sevens captain, Kyle Brown, said the earlier defeat was a nice wake-up call for the squad. “We must make sure that we prepare better mentally and come back fresh in the morning. The Aussies are a hard running team and tested our defences. In the first match, they kept the ball away from us for long periods, so we had to change that in the second match.”
Coach Neil Powell praised his team. “I am happy in the way we came back and play. In a knock-out match, anything is possible and Australia is a quality outfit, but we played well. Our forwards got a few crucial turn-overs and we have the backs that can exploit that.”
Powell has a clear vision on what the team need to do to finish on the podium in Rio. “We need a solid defensive line and a solid defensive effort tomorrow. Great Britain is one of the form teams in the competition and we need go back and plan for another war tomorrow.”