The Blitzboks still need to play Samoa in their final pool match at 04h16 (SA time) on Saturday, but their two wins will be enough to secure them a spot in the top-eight, along with either Ireland or Spain, who face each other on the second day.

Interim head coach Philip Snyman was pleased with the results, saying their first objective - making the quarter-finals – was achieved, which made for a successful day one.

“We want to top our pool, so the job is not done as we still need to beat Samoa tomorrow morning, but the two wins over Ireland and Spain was a good effort,” said Snyman.

“We started really well against Ireland, but then lost a bit of composure. Against Spain, we first could not get enough possession, but once we had hands on the ball, the points came.

“We are a dangerous team with ball in hand. There were still mistakes on the day, but we will work on those overnight and come back stronger tomorrow.”

Shilton van Wyk keeps two Spanish defenders busy.

Shilton van Wyk keeps two Spanish defenders busy.

Unfortunately for the Blitzboks, Justin Geduld was red carded against Ireland and he was suspended for three matches, which means he won’t be available to play on Saturday.

The red card aside, it was clear that the Blitzboks came to play in their opener against Ireland, starting the match with clear intent.

The Irish managed to retain possession from the kick-off, but were not really making any progress, thanks to the Blitzboks making a number of telling hits and stopping them in their tracks.

A knock-on three minutes in handed South Africa their first opportunity and they made it count. From the scrum, a delightful angled run from Shilton van Wyk opened up the Irish defence for a converted try and when Dewald Human stepped around a defender two minutes later, again from a scrum, the Blitzboks were off to the races.

Quewin Nortje added more misery on the Irish with a long-range try shortly before the break, which put South Africa 17-0 ahead. Ireland scored soon after the second half restart after a quick tap penalty before Ryan Oosthuizen extended the Blitzboks’ lead to 22-7.

Ryan Oosthuizen evades an Irish defender in the opening match.

Ryan Oosthuizen evades an Irish defender in the opening match.

When Geduld was binned, Ireland grabbed two more in quick succession with their opponents a defender down, but time ran out and the Blitzboks could celebrate a well-deserved opening win in Hong Kong.

In the second game, Spain scored first with some patience on attack and sustained possession resulting in Alejandro Laforga going over for the opening try, before Human responded after a counter-attack started by Christie Grobbelaar.

That lead was extended when Shaun Williams finished off brilliantly in the corner, beating three defenders to the line to hand his team a 12-5 lead at the break.

Spain scored first in the second half to cut the lead to two, but Darren Adonis romped away to restore the lead. Williams grabbed a second try when he intercepted a desperate pass, looking to get a bonus point score and that was that.


South Africa 22 (17), Ireland 17 (0)
SA - Tries: Shilton van Wyk, Dewald Human, Quewin Nortje, Ryan Oosthuizen. Conversion: Human.
Ireland - Tries: Zac Ward, Bryan Mollen, Niall Comerford. Conversion: Hugo Lennox.

South Africa 24 (12), Spain 10 (5)
SA - Tries: Darren Adonis, Dewald Human, Shaun Williams (2). Conversions: Human, Ronald Brown.
Spain - Tries: Alejandro Laforga, Tobias, Sainz-Trapaga.