The Blitzboks were very impressive on attack and posted 40 points in each of their three pool matches – against Japan (49-0), Canada 45-14) and Argentina (40-21). They also became the only side to have qualified top of their pool in all nine tournaments played so far.
Springbok Sevens assistant coach Renfred Dazel said they are happy with the day's effort, but pointed to two late tries conceded against Argentina that blotted their attacking effort.
“We are happy and positive at the end of the first day. We won all three our games in convincing fashion and all our replacements also got a proper run,” Dazel said.
“But we conceded a couple of tries when we became too loose and that is something we need to work on. The replacements bring lots of energy, but they did not pay enough attention to the process and leaked tries. Overall though, it’s a day we are happy with.”
It was a special day for Branco du Preez, who became the most capped Blitzboks when he took the field in his 70th tournament. He was happy that the focus remained on the job though.
“We started so positively on Saturday and at times we played well,” said Du Preez.
“We did concede a couple of tries, and we will need to work on that. We created many opportunities and if we can continue to do that, things will go well.”
Brief match reports
The Springbok Sevens team started strong in Pool A of the penultimate tournament of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. The 49-0 win over Japan and 45-14 win over Canada secured them a place in the Cup quarter-finals.
The Blitzboks were out of the blocks in no time against Japan and scored seven converted tries. Four of those came in the first half, with the second, by Du Preez, quite fitting in his record-setting 70th tournament for South Africa. Kurt-Lee Arendse got a brace in the game, the first time he scored twice in a match in the Green and Gold.
The match against Canada was tight in the first half. Werner Kok scored early, but Canada got one back in the third minute when Mike Mullins scored a converted try. Arendse sliced though from the restart, but Canada again pulled level on the buzzer for a 14-14 halftime score.
The Blitzboks dished up some awesome rugby in the second half. Kok scored a second with Selvyn Davids, Siviwe Soyizwapi, JC Pretorius and Impi Visser all adding to their try scoring tally.
The Blitzboks held a 21-7 lead against Argentina at the break, with Siviwe Soyizwapi scoring on either side of the break. They then extended the lead to 33-7 with good impact off the bench by the likes of Muller du Plessis and Stedman Gans, but Argentina scored two late tries to keep the South Africans honest with the quarter-finals looming on Sunday.
Werner Kok had the last say though, scoring their 20th try of the day.
South Africa 49 (28), Japan 0 (0)
South Africa – Tries: Kurt-Lee Arendse (2), Branco du Preez, Justin Geduld, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Sako Makata, Selvyn Davids.
Conversions: Du Preez (4), Davids (3).
Japan – 0
South Africa 45 (14), Canada 14 (14)
South Africa – Tries: Werner Kok (2), Kurt-Lee Arendse, Selvyn Davids, Siviwe Soyizwapi, JC Pretorius, Impi Visser. Conversions: Branco du Preez (2), Davids (3).
Canada – Tries: Mike Mullins, Luke McCloskey. Conversions: Nathan Hirayama (2).
South Africa 40 (21), Argentina 21 (7)
South Africa – Tries: Siviwe Soyizwapi (2), Kurt-Lee Arendse, Stedman Gans, Muller du Plessis, Werner Kok. Conversions: Branco du Preez (3). Selvyn Davids (2).
Argentina – Tries: German Schulz, Frank Sabato (2). Conversions: Lautaro Bazan Velez, Gaston Revol, Francisco Ulloa.
The Cup quarter-finals are (SA times):
11h58: South Africa v Australia
12h20 New Zealand v France
12h42: USA v Canada
13h04: Fiji v Ireland