The wet conditions made handling difficult for both teams, but the Imbokodo will be upset as they simply made too many errors, many of which the Fijians pounced on.
Fiji scored three tries in the first half – all from sustained pressure on attack or turn-overs – by Roela Radiniyavuni, Asinate Savu and Lavenia Tinai, while Tinai added one conversion for a 17-0 lead at the break.
The South Africans refused to give up though and after Vasiti Solikoviti scored the Fijians’ fourth try early in the second half, again from lost possession by the Imbokodo, Nadine Roos was rewarded for her excellent play in all three matches with a try late in the match.
Solikoviti added a second try to give the Fijians a bigger win in the end as the Imbokodo unfortunately failed to win any of their three pool matches.
South Africa 5 (0) – Try: Nadine Roos.
Fiji 27 (17) – Tries: Roela Radiniyavuni, Asinate Savu, Lavenia Tinai, Vasiti Solikoviti (2). Conversion: Tinai.
Earlier on Saturday, the Springbok Women’s Sevens team put in a much-improved performance in their first Pool A match on the second day of the HSBC Cape Town Sevens, but their defence was exposed as they were beaten 31-12 by Russia.
The Imbokodo played much better than on Friday afternoon when they lost their opening match to New Zealand and again looked very dangerous with ball in hand, but in the end, they slipped off too many tackles and conceded too many penalties.
Liske Lategan had the crowd on its feet early on when she scored the Imbokodo’s first-ever try in Cape Town, after a great midfield-break by Eloise Webb.
But the elation was short-lived as Russia exploited weak defence out wide for their first try, by Alena Mikhaltsova.
Elena Zdrokova and Baizat Khamidova crossed for the Russians’ second and third tries before the break – again after missed tackles by South Africa – which saw them lead 19-5 at half-time.
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) December 14, 2019
The Imbokodo started the second half in the same fashion as the first when Meghan Phillips went over for their second try, after great play by Nadine Roos in the build-up.
Roos converted to close the gap to 19-12, but thereafter the Russians regained their composure as they scored two more tries – Zdrokova got her second through sheer pace out wide, and Daria Noritsina crossed after an attacking scrum on the SA 22.
Phillips said the intensity of play at this level is the toughest aspect of their introduction into the World Series.
"Everyone is going so fast and it never slows down," she explained.
"We scored two good tries, one from set-piece and the other where the inside players all took good options to put me in space. So there is definite improvement I feel, we were much better than yesterday already.
"We have a couple of hours to regroup and get our focus back. There is another opportunity for us and we must use it."
South Africa 12 (5) – Tries: Liske Lategan, Meghan Phillips. Conversion: Nadine Roos.
Russia 31 (19) – Tries: Alena Mikhaltsova, Elena Zdrokova (2), Baizat Khamidova, Daria Noritsina. Conversions: Kristina Seredina (3).