The Blitzboks beat Japan 26-0 before drawing 5-5 with Chile at the Las Vegas Sevens.
South Africa and England will now fight it out for top spot on day two (12am on Sunday, SA time).
The Blitzboks struggled to get going against Japan, but scored late in the first half when Branco du Preez put his right shoulder down and powered through the middle of an attempted double tackle.
South Africa put their foot on the accelerator after the break, scoring two quick-fire tries by Impi Visser and Selvyn Davids. Mfundo Ndhlovu then dotted down to wrap up the game.
The match against Chile was a different story altogether. While South Africa played with purpose, they were unable to break down Chile’s stubborn defence. Du Preez eventually scored to give the Blitzboks a 5-0 lead at half-time.
But Chile kept the Blitzboks scoreless in the second half before striking late in the game to level the scores.
With 23 seconds remaining, the Chileans pushed hard for a match-winning try. They won a penalty and found touch inside the Blitzboks’ 22. But South Africa then won a penalty and attacked from deep, with JC Pretorius breaking away. He made it all the way to the other end of the field, but failed to ground the ball safely over the line.
‘It was shocking and almost a disgrace,’ said Blitzboks captain Philip Snyman. ‘This performance, especially against Chile, who are not even a core team on the circuit, was not worth the Blitzboks jersey. We need to have a hard look at ourselves before we front up to England.
‘We could not even win our own lineouts and had so many scoring opportunities, but took none.’
“Not acceptable” Straight talking from Blitzbok captain @snymanphilip after the 5-5 draw against @chilerugby1 in their second pool match #LasVegas7s. @CastleFreeSA @FNBSA @ASICSRugby @ASICS_ZA pic.twitter.com/Q9sLmSFaMd
— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) March 2, 2019
Photo: HSBC Sport