Blitzboks’ defence keeps Kiwis out

The Springbok Sevens beat New Zealand 14-7 in the Cup quarter-finals of the Las Vegas Sevens to book a semi-final meeting with ustralia.

Seabelo Senatla scored two first-half tries for the South Africans, who then delivered a huge defensive effort to restrict New Zealand to just one score in the second half.

Senatla has now scored nine tries in four matches at the three-day tournament, which is the fifth stop on the World Rugby Sevens Series circuit.

The other semi-final will be contested between the USA and Fiji, who currently share a three-way tie on top of the Sevens Series standings with South Africa and New Zealand.

In the other quarter-final matches, the USA defeated Kenya 26-14, Fiji powered to a 43-7 win over Japan and Australia edged Argentina 26-12.

The USA will meet Fiji at 22:50 on Sunday (SA time), with the Blitzboks taking on Australia at 23:12.

Earlier on Saturday morning the Springbok Sevens defeated the United States 29-0, scoring five tries in the process, to finish unbeaten and top of Pool D. Chris Dry dived over for his 70th Sevens Series try to open the scoring, and he was followed shortly by Senatla, who sliced through a gap after taking a quick penalty tap. Senatla scored his second try after the restart, while Dylan Sage and Cecil Afrika also joined in the try-scoring act.

In their quarter-final clash against New Zealand, the Springbok Sevens controlled much of the play and it came as no surprise when Senatla ran in twice to score. The Kiwis launched a strong fightback in the second half and were rewarded with a Lewis Ormond try. But the Springbok Sevens then came with a massive defensive display to shut out the Kiwis.

Blitzboks coach Neil Powell was happy with the New Zealand result, but he also cautioned that the Australians will be tough to beat.

'I’m pleased with the way we controlled the match in especially the first half against New Zealand. We could have pulled away from them, but we made two mistakes towards the end of the half, when they had a player in the bin,' said Powell.

'Australia is always a difficult side to play because they are strong, very organised and structured. They will also bring a very good tactical challenge to the game. However, these are the type of matches you look forward to and it is another opportunity for the players to show what they can do as we also prepare for the Olympics in August.'

Blitzboks results (Day 2):

Beat USA 29-0 (Pool D)
Beat New Zealand 14-7 (Cup quarter-final)

Cup semi-finals (Sunday SA time):

22:50: United States vs Fiji
23:12: South Africa vs Australia

Photo: World Rugby

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