July 20, 2024

Blitzboks book their Paris 2024 Olympics spot

South Africa beat Great Britain 14-5 in a tense final to claim the final qualification spot for the Paris Olympics as they won gold at the World Rugby Sevens Repechage in Monaco.

In a game where all the points were scored in the first half, the Blitzboks were resolute in defence, holding out a late GB onslaught to book their place on the plane for July.

Canada and Spain also missed out after falling at the semi-final stage, but Spain finished the weekend with some pride as they won 31-14 in the bronze final.  

Quewin Nortje opened the scoring after just two minutes for South Africa after a well-executed cross field kick, but GB soon piled the pressure back on their opponents. The Blitzbok defence was fierce, but ultimately could not hold out a finish from Robbie Fergusson in the right corner.

GB hit the ball back in play of their kick off, but it worked against their favour, the ball finding Shilton Van Wyk at full pace to take South Africa 14-5 ahead at the break.

GB looked to attack out of their half but a breakdown turnover from Tristan Leyds stunted their progress and were forced to defend again, but Charlton Kerr stepped up to match Leyds’ steal with the Blitzboks edging closer to the line.

GB won a penalty with just over a minute and opted for a scrum, and with two scores needed the attack needed to be quick. However, GB knocked the ball on, South Africa booking their place in Paris.

“It’s a pretty special group we have here, just to cherish the moment is what we’re living for,” said Leyds after the game.

“There was a lot of external pressure, the people back home get disappointed (when we don’t perform), but we kept the group tight and it paid off, we qualified for Paris.

“To the people back home, thank you for supporting us and believing in us, we are going to take this energy to Paris.”

“We have some pretty special youngsters in our team, they made us proud this week,” added Rosko Specman.

“ The Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the world. It’s pretty special to play in an Olympics.”


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