Blitzboks fall at final pool hurdle at Cape Town SVNS

The Blitzboks players in a huddle at the Cape Town Sevens on Saturday

FILE - The Blitzboks players in a huddle at the Cape Town Sevens on Saturday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Dec 10, 2023


Not even the chants of “Rassie, Rassie, Rassie” when the DJ in the DHL Stadium played Irish folklore song Zombie could help the Blitzboks to a win over Ireland in the final Pool A match at the Cape Town Sevens on Saturday evening.

The crowd sang the tune in full voice, but South Africa still fell at the final pool hurdle of the Cape Town SVNS tournament, losing 14-12 to claim the second spot in the group for a tougher quarter-final match against Australia (kickoff 11:18) on Sunday in the Mother City.

After scoring the first try of the match, the Blitzboks could not find a way through the robust defence of the Irish. They matched every attack that the South Africans threw their way with some big defensive plays and won crucial turnovers a couple of times when they were on the attack.

The home side also could not kick on from the good start they had after winning the previous two pool clashes with some strong defence and well-worked attacking plays for their tries. But the loss could be a blessing in disguise ahead of the play-offs for the Springbok Sevens knowing that they must do better on Sunday if they want to get to the final of the home tournament.

They haven’t won in Cape Town since 2015 and it will take a colossal defensive and attacking display to come out on top against some quality sides.

Ireland was full value for this win over the home side and they top the group after beating all three their opponents. They will be one one of the sides challenging for the tournament title on Sunday.

Earlier on Saturday the hosts made it two wins from two in hard-fought battles with Great Britain (19-5) and the United States (26-14).

The Americans kept the South Africans honest with about two minutes left in the match after the Blitzboks went up 14-0 at half-time. The US pulled it back to 14-all late in the game after a yellow card to playmaker Justin Geduld. But when the Springbok Sevens’ bench came on, they turned on the screws with two late tries to seal the deal.

It was a tough start against the US with some uncharacteristic knock-ons that robbed the team from early attacking momentum. Plus the Americans defended well to keep their side from conceding any points.

Shortly before half-time, though, well-planned kicks delivered some valuable territory and some great follow-up work by forwards Impi Visser and Ryan Oosthuizen produced a try to Oosthuizen who hurriedly had to pounce on a loose ball behind the try line to score. Speedster Rosko Specman ran from almost 50 meters after a break by captain Selvyn Davids to score the second try.

Five-pointers by Visser and replacement ace Ronald Brown sealed the 26-14 win over the US in the second half.

The Springbok Women’s Sevens had a disappointing day one of their home tournament and could not win any pool games.

IOL Sport