The Blitzboks held their nerve to claim a hard-fought 21-12 win over Scotland in their Cup quarter-final at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
The Springbok Sevens came into day two without the services of both skipper Philip Snyman and Muller du Plessis, with injury reserve Selvyn Davids called into the match-day squad and Kyle Brown assuming the captaincy.
Despite this double blow, and the fact that the Blitzboks were a substitute short, they managed to do enough to progress to the semi-finals.
It was once again a far from clinical performance, but they will be desperately relieved to have progressed to the final four in the Cup section of the competition, especially after falling short at the quarter-final stage last weekend.
Although the hosts had a nervy start to proceedings, Siviwe Soyizwapi made an important try-saving tackle to deny Scotland early on.
The Blitzboks settled down after that, worked their way upfield and were able to set up an attacking 5m scrum, from where Justin Geduld darted away for the opening try.
Yet Soyizwapi then transformed from hero to zero as he was yellow-carded for a high tackle, and in his absence Sam Pecqueur went to score for Scotland with the final play of the half to make it 7-7 at the break.
Just as South Africa returned to a full complement of players, Scotland lost a man to the sin bin for a neck roll, and Rosko Specman would dot down almost immediately afterwards to restore the Blitzboks’ lead.
Once again, though, the Blitzboks’ ill-discipline let them down as Scotland were able to hit right back through Pecqueur, which led to a nervy final couple of minutes.
However, the Springbok Sevens ultimately managed to hold on for victory, with Werner Kok scoring a last-minute try to make the scoreline look somewhat flattering.
The Blitzboks will play Fiji in the semi-finals at 4:34pm, with New Zealand taking on the USA.