South Africa beat France 26-0 in their second match at the Olympic Games on Tuesday, reports GARY LEMKE in Rio.
Having scored within 90 seconds against Spain earlier in the day, South Africa were on the board even quicker against France, dotting down after 54 seconds following a barnstorming run by Kwagga Smith, continued by Cecil Afrika, who passed inside to the unmarked Justin Geduld.
With temperatures still sitting at 28°C at 4:30pm, the match had an understandably stop-start tempo to it, but most of the decisive running came from the South Africans.
They were strong in the tackle too, where Kyle Brown stood firm and after one turnover had been created by the captain, the ball was fed to Smith who, inside his own 22m, jinked inside his man and then ran the rest of the length of the field. Afrika converted for 14-0.
Just before half-time, Brown went over in the corner after Geduld had made the break and subsequent hard yards upfield with a chip and chase and from the next phase the ball got to Brown on the left and he crossed the whitewash to see his side 19-0 up at the interval and out of sight.
The second half was scrappy with plenty of stoppages and substitutes, but with two minutes remaining Afrika broke down the left, inside his own half, and fed to Dylan Sage who bashed through a tackle and then ran the try in from 55m to swallow dive over under the posts. Afrika supplied the extras and South Africa had stretched the gap to 26-0.
Even as the final hooter sounded and France had the ball, South Africa refused to allow them through. Each time a French player would look for a gap or try to break a tackle there were two green-and-gold jerseys on him, wrapping him up or pushing him backwards.
It is this type of defensive commitment that coach Neil Powell has instilled in his team, who top Pool B after two games, having scored 50 points without reply. They play Australia on Wednesday and will be confident of winning that, given the Australians lost 31-14 to France and managed to come from behind to beat Spain 24-12 in their two matches.
Blitzboks Olympic fixtures and results (SA times):
Tuesday, 9 August:
Beat Spain 24-0
Beat France 26-0
Wednesday, 10 August
vs Australia (16:30)
Start of playoffs (21:00)