Seabelo Senatla and Justin Geduld scored two tries each as the Blitzboks beat England 33-12 on day two of the Sydney Sevens on Saturday.
In a straight shootout for pool honours and a quarter-final match against the Pool B runners-up, who turned out to be Kenya, South Africa produced their most complete performance to overcome the stern challenge England posed.
In a first half that stretched over nine minutes and 30 seconds, England – who had the Blitzboks’ measure in their previous encounters in recent months – looked ominously close to continue their dominance in this fixture.
But after conceding an early converted try due to a defensive lapse in concentration by Cecil Afrika right on the tryline, South Africa fought back brilliantly to take a commanding lead at the interval.
Afrika made up for his early defensive error with an excellent pick-up and pop pass off the ground to Seabelo for a try that erased England’s lead.
After a patient passage of play, Tim Agaba looked to have scored but replays confirmed his feet went over the deadball line before grounding the ball. It could have been a costly mistake, but fortunately for him, the Blitzboks played under a penalty advantage at the time.
South Africa edged ahead when Afrika scored their second try. In possession in their own half with a seven-point lead and the half-time hooter sounding, the Blitzboks would have been excused for ending the half. But they kept the ball alive and went 65m downfield for a try under the posts, scored by Geduld.
Geduld continued to stamp his authority on the match and soon after the restart, the playmaker scored his second, and South Africa’s fourth, try for a 28-7 scoreline.
After finally getting their hands on the ball, England’s Dan Bibby crashed over to spark a glimmer of hope, but Senatla scuttled away for another try in the last minute of the game to wrap up the result.
The Blitzboks will play Kenya in the Cup quarter-finals on Sunday (02:00 SA time).
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