June 18, 2024

Blitzboks face Aussies in Cape Town Sevens quarterfinals

The Blitzboks loss against Ireland in their final game a the DHL Stadium on Saturday night could be seen as a blessing in disguise because it means they will now face Australia in the Cape Town Sevens quarter-finals  on Sunday.

If the Springbok Sevens head coach Sandile Ngcobo’s side had won the game, it would have meant they they would have had to face arch rivals New Zealand in the quarterfinals. The Kiwis earlier  demolished the Aussies in their pool game.

A second-half comeback attempt proved to be too little, too late as Ireland held on for a 14-12 victory to hand the tournament hosts their first loss of the season.

Ultimately the Blitzboks ran out of time as Dewald Human dotted down from a powerful counter-ruck with 30 seconds to go, with Ireland keeping their composure to win the kick-off and hoof the ball into touch.

Ireland went into the break leading 14-5 thanks to a converted brace from Gavin Mullin, punshing the Blitzboks for making uncharacteristic risky offloads and handling errors after Rosko Specman scored in the corner to give the home side an early lead.

The other quarter-finals are Argentina v Canada (10h34), Ireland v New Zealand (10h56) and Fiji v France (11h40).

Ngcobo expressed disappointment in the execution in some areas of play against Ireland.

“Congratulations to Ireland with the win – we had our chances and did not make the most of it,” said Ngcobo.

“We became a bit loose in that game. We are best when we have ball in hand, but we made a number of errors where we gave possession away, which was something we didn’t do in the earlier games.

“Overall, I felt we did well and I don’t want to dwell too much on the mistakes made against Ireland. We will have a look and analyse on how we can do better in that area.”

Ngcobo said Australia will be a tough opponent: “We played Australia in Dubai last weekend and that was a tough game, they are a very good outfit and we will need to be very organised tomorrow when we face them. The teams know each other well and it will be about who makes the right decisions and make that count in the match.”

Quewin Nortje goes over for his first try against Great Britain.

Quewin Nortje goes over for his first try against Great Britain.

In their opening game, Quewin Nortje scored twice in the Blitzboks’ 19-5 victory over Great Britain.

The windy conditions didn’t seem to bother the Blitzboks, although they would be first to admit that they could have been a bit sharper with ball in hand.

Nortje scored early from a sniping blindside break from the base of a ruck, but Great Britain hit back on the stroke of halftime through Harry Glover.

Geduld then restored the Blitzboks’ lead shortly after the break, converting his own try to make it 12-5.

Three minutes later, Nortje was at it again, his second try all but sealing the deal for the host nation as Brown added the extras.

The Blitzboks then won their second pool game against the USA by 26-14.

The South Africans had a great first half and kept the USA scoreless, while Ryan Oosthuizen and Rosko Specman scored converted tries that had the crowd on their feet.

However, a yellow card early in the second half to Justin Geduld opened the door for the Americans, who scored twice in two minutes through Lucas Lacamp to level the scores at 14-14.

With a number of replacements taking the field, the Blitzboks steadied the ship and late tries by Impi Visser and Ronald Brown sealed the deal.

It wasn’t to be against Ireland in the last match of the day though, with the visitors clinching a nail-biter by 14-12 as both teams scored two tries apiece.

Specman got the first for the Blitzboks, but two tries late in the first half gave Ireland a 14-5 lead at the break.

Despite enjoying territorial advantage for most of the second half, the Blitzboks could only cross the Irish tryline when Dewald Human scored with less than a minute to go.

Ireland controlled the restart and booted the ball into touch to claim top spot in Pool A.

Scorers:

Springbok Sevens 19 (5) Great Britain 5 (5)
Springbok Sevens – Tries: Quewin Nortje (2), Justin Geduld. Conversions: Geduld, Ronald Brown.
Great Britain – Try: Harry Glover.

Springbok Sevens 24 (14) USA 14 (0)
Springbok Sevens – Tries: Ryan Oosthuizen, Rosko Specman, Impi Visser, Ronald Brown. Conversions: Justin Geduld (2), Brown.
USA – Tries: Lucas Lacamp (2). Conversions: Madison Hughes (2).

Springbok Sevens 12 (5) Ireland 14 (14)
Springbok Sevens – Tries: Rosko Specman, Dewald Human. Conversion: Human.
Ireland – Tries: Gavin Mullan (2). Conversions: Hugo Lennox (2).

SOURCE: SA RUGBY

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