Pretorius sends Blitzboks to LA semis

JC Pretorius scored a 13th-minute try to give the Blitzboks a 12-10 victory over the USA in the Los Angeles Sevens quarter-finals on Sunday. DYLAN JACK reports.

The Blitzboks produced a sterling comeback after going 10-0 behind to the tournament hosts, with Pretorius the hero as his try under the posts proved the difference between the two sides.

Neil Powell’s side will next face log-leaders New Zealand in what could be a defining match for the overall World Series standings at 11:45pm (SA time).

It looked as if the USA would be going through to the next round after taking a lead in the first half through a quick-fire double from speedster Carlin Isles.

However, the Blitzboks pulled themselves back into the contest just before half time as Ryan Oosthuizen kept a fingernail on the ball to ground it in the corner.

The second half was evenly contested as the USA had their chances to put the game to bed, most notably a lineout inside the Blitzboks’ half which was overthrown, allowing the South Africans to counter-attack upfield.

Eventually, it was good work from Kurt-Lee Arendse and Pretorius that did the trick for the Blitzboks, as Arendse broke the line and won a penalty inside the USA 22, before Pretorius showed his strength to shrug off a couple of tackles and go in under the posts.

The USA had a late chance after the full-time hooter, but Arendse made a vital tackle to win the ball back and see captain Stedman Gans boot the ball into the stands.

Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

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Dylan Jack