The Blitzboks overturned a 14-point deficit to claim a thrilling 26-14 win over Fiji in their opening game on day two of the Cape Town Sevens. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
A near-capacity crowd welcomed the Blitzboks out to a deafening roar, with this clash undoubtedly serving as the headline fixture of day two.
In clear, warm conditions, the scene was set for a blockbuster encounter, with the Blitzboks thrashing Japan on Friday night, while Fiji overcame the USA in their opener.
It was a nervy start from the Springbok Sevens as a sequence of early penalties were conceded, eventually leading to a yellow card to Seabelo Senatla, and almost immediately after his departure Fiji would open the scoring.
With the Blitzboks having had barely any possession over the first three minutes of play, the crowd was again silenced when another penalty went the way of Fiji, and the visitors quickly made South Africa pay with another try to go 14-0 up.
It did look as if the pressure was perhaps getting to the Blitzboks when Chris Dry dropped the ball with the tryline at his mercy, but the home team had advantage, and importantly Rosko Specman would dot down under the posts just before the break.
That was just the tonic the Springbok Sevens needed, and soon after the restart, a lovely turnover from JC Pretorius ultimately led to a try to crowd-favourite Senatla. However, the conversion went astray, leaving Fiji clinging onto a two-point lead.
Yet, the Blitzboks again came back on attack, and this time it was powerful Ruhan Nel who went over in the corner after another bit of crucial play from Pretorius.
Looking like a completely different side from the opening exchanges, Justin Geduld would score once more as the Springbok Sevens recorded a 26-unanswered points haul.