The South African U18 Sevens team will face Canada in the quarter-finals at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man on Sunday after winning two of their three games on the first day.
South Africa finished second in Pool B after big wins over Sri Lanka and Trinidad & Tobago, but they came unstuck in the last game against England and lost a tight encounter 7-5.
The young South Africans won both their first two games by 62-0, but failed to perform in the vital final fixture and squandered several try-scoring opportunities in their only defeat.
Justin Geduld proved to be the star of the match in the first victory over Sri Lanka as the playmaker claimed four tries. Jan Serfontein, Carel Swart, Cheslin Kolbe, Burger Odendaal, Dries Swanepoel and Andre Esterhuizen also crossed the chalk to seal a convincing victory.
South Africa carried their winning momentum into their Trinidad & Tobago clash, scoring 10 tries in total. Sean Robinson grabbed the most tries, claiming the team’s second hat-trick of the day.
Against England, it was a close and physical match. After a scrappy start, England managed to score first through Scott Stirling. South Africa had the chances to hit back, but were held out by a strong English defence. The half-time score read 7-0.
South Africa came out strong in the second half, and played most of the match in England’s territory. However, poor decision-making and individual errors saw the team fail to capitalise early. Tyler Fisher managed to score an unconverted try late in the match, but time ran out for Vuyo Zangqa’s charges and England held on for an important win.
South Africa will now face Canada in the knock-out stage on day two. The game is scheduled to kick off at 17:53 (SA time). In the other quarter-finals, Australia will play Trinidad & Tobago, Isle of Man face England and Scotland take on Sri Lanka.