The Springboks Sevens will play Australia in the Cup quarterfinals of the Emirates Airline London Sevens on Sunday morning after they finished second in Pool D on Saturday. A world record crowd of more than 54,000 fans attended the first day of the action at Twickenham today.
South Africa got past the determined challenges of Russia and Portugal earlier in the day but lost another thrilling match 12-7 against Fiji in their final pool match of the day.
Fiji made the most of their physical advantage, dominating the breakdown and enjoying most of the possession. They led 12-0 at halftime thanks to tries from Joeli Lutumailagi and Setefano Cakau.
South Africa managed to get their hand on the ball from the restart and then managed to put a strong passage of play together which resulted in a try for Bernado Botha after Cecil Afrika made the crucial pass.
Paul Treu, the SA Sevens coach, decided to rest his captain, Kyle Brown, against Fiji while he also took off Frankie Horne midway through the second half – probably with the crucial quarterfinal encounter against Australia in mind.
“I said before time that Russia Portugal must not be treated lightly and they made it very tough for us. We made some unforced errors against them but I think the guys were in better shape against Fiji. We created some good chances in the second half and came very close to scoring the decider right at the end,” explained Treu.
Earlier in the day, Russia led South Africa 7-5 at halftime before Steven Hunt and Boom Prinsloo scored in quick succession after the break to secure a 17-7 win for their team. Bernado Botha touched down in the first half after he collected a superb cross field kick from Afrika.
The Springbok Sevens made a much more composed start in the second pool match against a tenacious Portugal. Branco du Preez and Frankie Horne scored tries to give SA a 12-0 lead halftime while Neil Powell scored soon after he came on the field as substitute, before Du Preez touched down for his second of the match. Pedro Leal scored a consolation try for Portugal.
The penultimate leg of the 2010/11 HSBC Sevens World Series attracted 54,357 spectators, the biggest crowd to attend a single day of the global series in its 12-year history.
The previous best of 50,000 was set on both days of the 2008 Dubai Sevens and a new record for a two-day tournament will be set if tomorrow’s crowd takes the combined figure at Twickenham past the 100,000 mark.
Supersport will show all the action live from 11h15 on SS1 & CSN