Awesome Blitzboks power into Dubai quarter-finals
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Durban — The red-hot Blitzboks accelerated into the quarter-finals of the Sevens World Series in Dubai by going emphatically unbeaten in Pool A, and in the process extended their incredible record of consecutive Series wins to 21.
The South Africans won the first leg of the World Series last week, also in Dubai, and coach Neil Powell said that they wanted to continue their momentum into the second leg, and the coach got his wish, with the Boks ruthless dispatching Japan, Ireland and Great Britain.
Their final game of the day, against Britain was always going to be their biggest challenge but, as has become the norm, the Boks burst out of the block to score first, with Zain Davids finishing off an irresistible build up from the first whistle, and then as half time approached Shilton van Wyk slipped through the defence for a timely score, only for The British team to score a minute after the hooter via Alex Davis for a14-7 score at the break.
In a tight second half, Ronald Brown broke the deadlock with a typically fleet-footed effort two minutes from time and at 21-7, there was no way back for the Brits.
Early in the day the Blitzboks got their campaign off to a blistering start when they smashed Japan 48-0, scoring eight tries in the process.
The teams could not have had more contrasting fortunes going into this match —Japan had lost their previous 18 matches in the Series while the Boks had won 18 in a trot, and a complete mismatch it proved it to be.
The Blitzboks were ruthlessly efficient, scoring from the kick-off and scoring with the last move of the game, with six more tries in between.
Interestingly, the eight tries were shared evenly among the players, with one each to Impi Visser; JC Pretorius, Shilton van Wyk., Siviwe Soyizwapi, Zain Davids, Selvyn Davids, Ronald Brown, and Shaun Willams.
The Boks’ second game, against Ireland, was much more of a sweat, although the 21-12 result was reasonably comfortable in the end.
Ireland are an up-and-coming team and they indeed provided a much sterner test that Japan.
They dominated the early exchanges but when the South Africans did get the ball, they made it count and Shilton van Wyk cruised over for the first score.
Just before half-time, a rare mistake by Selvyn Davids a cost a seven-pointer when his pass went slightly forward to unmarked Siviwe Soyizwapi but the nippy 27-year-old made up for it not long after half time when he carved through the Irish defence for a fine individual try.
The Irish were hardly finished and responded with a try in the corner by their captain, Terry Kennedy. The missed conversion left the score at 14-5 with two minutes to go, and the game was virtually safe for the Boks.
And it was game over a minute from time when Jurgen Visser showed the defence a clean pair of heels. Ireland scored a consolation try after the hooter but it was too little too late.