South Africa beat France and Japan and lost to defending champions Samoa to qualify for the Cup quarterfinals of the Adelaide Sevens, where they will play against Fiji in the Cup quarterfinals on Sunday morning.
The Springboks Sevens, Adelaide winners in 2008 and 2009, opened the pool stages with a 19-0 win over France, followed by a 21-12 victory over Japan, who surprisingly led 12-0 at halftime, before going down 26-17 to Samoa.
Coach Paul Treu made three significant changes for the final pool match against Samoa, resting his key players Cecil Afrika, Kyle Brown and Frankie Horne and handing starts to Boom Prinsloo, Neil Powell and Tshotsho Mbovane. Initially, the youthful South Africans found the going tough against the experienced defending champions and Samoa raced to a 21-0 halftime lead after South Africa hardly touched the ball.
Lolu Lui (2), Alafoti Faosiliva and Ruepena Levasa scored the tries for Samoa.
However, the youngsters would have been encouraged by a much improved second half performance. Eighteen year old Tshotsho Mbovane displayed his silky handling skills and dazzling footwork and he was instrumental in all three the SA tries.
He crossed over for a regulation score in the corner and followed that two minutes later with his second after he stepped a couple defenders. But it was his hand in the third SA try, scored by Paul Delport, which gave notice just why Treu rates the former Western Province schoolboy star so highly.
His quick feet allowed him to dance his way through several tackles before off-loading to Pieter Engelbrecht, who found Delport on the inside.
Against France, two tries by the season’s leading point scorer Cecil Afrika and captain, Kyle Brown, enabled the Springbok Sevens to win 19-0.
Japan stunned the team by leading 12-0, before two tries from Sibusiso Sithole inspired South Africa to a close 21-12 victory.
Lote Tuqiri and Katsuyuki Saki were the Japanese scorers in the first half before South Africa hit back with two tries from Sithole and one by Afrika.
The Cup quarterfinal draw for Sunday in Adelaide is:
New Zealand vs. Argentina
Samoa vs. Australia
Fiji vs. South Africa
England vs. Wales
All matches live on SuperSport.