The Blitzboks claimed a 14-5 victory over New Zealand to advance to the Cup semi-finals of London Sevens on Sunday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
South Africa will face hosts England in the Cup semi-finals at 4:10pm on Sunday.
Apart from the shock 21-12 defeat to Samoa on day one, the Blitzboks suffered two significant blows when Cecil Afrika (hamstring) and Branco du Preez (concussion) sustained injuries that ruled them out of the remainder of the tournament.
But the duo’s absence was hardly felt against New Zealand. In fact, it fuelled South Africa’s fire as they bounced back to produce a defensive masterclass that will have coach Neil Powell beaming from ear to ear.
The Blitzboks went on the attack first and after two minutes of probing away at the New Zealand line, neat footwork by Justin Geduld confused the defenders and allowed Ryan Oosthuizen to score from close range.
There were to be no more scores before the break, but New Zealand looked most likely get on the board as they came out firing in the second half.
For two long minutes, they retained possession and relentlessly attacked inside the Blitzboks half. But the South Africans gave nothing away and to rub salt in the wounds, they won back possession and raced away to dot down on the other end of the field against the run of play.
New Zealand made several substitutions and the introduction of the experienced Phil Mickelson helped them to pull back five points. Mickelson’s strong run created an overlap for Dylan Collier to sprint away and score.
But it was too little too late, as the Blitzboks were still two scores ahead with no time left on the clock.
Cup semi-final fixtures (Day 2):
Fiji vs Ireland (3:48pm)
England vs South Africa (4:10pm)
— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) June 3, 2018