The Blitzboks overturned a 7-5 half-time deficit to claim a 22-7 win over Japan in their opening match at the Hong Kong Sevens on Friday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The South Africans produced a stuttering first-half performance, before a brace from Werner Kok, to go with tries from Justin Geduld and stand-in captain Siviwe Soyizwapi saw them to a comfortable enough win.
It was a less than ideal start to the tournament for Neil Powell’s men, who lost the first kick-off, allowing Japan to take the ball through the phases before Siosifa Lisala sniped around a ruck and broke through for the opening try.
However, the South Africans quickly hit back as they got into Japanese territory and narrowed the deficit to two points after Impi Visser fed Kock to score out wide.
The Blitzboks seemed to struggle with the physicality of the Japanese, with Lisala in particular, making metres with ball in hand.
They did miss a glorious chance to score before the break as Soyizwapi knocked on with nobody ahead of him after a quick tap from Selvyn Davids.
Whatever Powell said at the break seemed to work, as Kok went over for his second shortly after the interval to give the Blitzboks the lead for the first time in the match.
That try seemed to awaken the Blitzboks as they quickly extended their lead through an excellent solo try from Geduld, who then turned provider as his kick-pass was plucked from the air by Soyizwapi, who strolled in for their fourth try.
The Blitzboks move on to face Scotland, who lost their opener to Samoa, at 5:41am (SA time) on Saturday, before taking on the Samoans at 9:22am.
“Credit to the boys”. Blitzboks coach @Neil5Powell after a hard fought 22-7 over @JRFURugby in their opening pool match @cathaypacific @OfficialHK7s @CastleFreeSA @FNBSA @ASICSRugby @ASICS_ZA pic.twitter.com/49krG1MIuV
— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) April 5, 2019