South Africa scored a workmanlike 33-5 victory over tournament debutants Spain in their opening Pool E clash at the Hong Kong Sevens tournament earlier today. The Springbok Sevens lead 12-5 at halftime.
Spain was first to score when Carlos Blanco crossed over in the corner after they had managed to work the ball through plenty of phases. They defended this lead in impressive fashion for the next five minutes, before Paul Jordaan showed an individual piece of brilliance to put South Africa ahead with a try that was converted by Cecil Afrika.
The teenager received the ball deep inside his own half and quickly spotted the lone defender ahead of him, kicking a perfectly placed grubber before collecting the ball to score next to the posts.
Kyle Brown, the SA Sevens captain, featured prominently in the next move which saw Branco du Preez crossed over for his first try of the tournament.
South Africa produced a much better showing in the second half and substitute Paul Delport scored the first of three tries after the break. The other two were scored by the impressive Cecil Afrika, who took his tally for the current season to 24 and his overall World Series tries total to 50 in just two seasons.
Afterwards Paul Treu, the Springbok Sevens coach, declared himself reasonably pleased with his team’s performance.
“We struggled somewhat in the beginning with the slippery surface, but I think our guys adjusted very well to the conditions to deliver a very good performance in the second half.
“Paul Jordaan and Bernado Botha both suffered leg injuries towards the end of the first half and we replaced them at halftime with Paul Delport and Sibusiso Sithole. Kyle Brown also left the field early with a cut to his head. He received a few stitches and should be okay for tomorrow,” explained Treu.
The SA Sevens was very pleased with the contribution of Delport in the second half: “Paul made a huge difference and he linked well with Branco du Preez and Cecil Afrika. He calmed the play and made a good impression with his all round distribution and options. Spain made it difficult for us but we protected our ball much better after the break and we also improved our efforts in the tackle and contact areas.
“We wanted to keep the momentum and I’m pleased that we could achieve that.”
He added that the next match, against hosts Hong Kong on Saturday, will be a tough encounter. “They are used to the conditions and will have the big crowd behind them in support.”