Earlier on the second day of the tournament, South Africa outplayed Samoa 26-7 to top their pool, but they could not find the same attacking direction without inspirational captain Selvyn Davids or Ronald Brown.

Brown picked up an injury against Samoa and Davids was suspended for a hight tackle against the islanders. With Justin Geduld also out suspended, they faced Australia with only 10 players at hand.

That proved a bridge too far for the SA side. Australia managed to negate their opponents’ tactic of kick and chase, something that worked wonders all weekend and in a tight match, scored once in each half to clinch the win.

Nathan Lawson opened the scoring after two minutes from a good counter-attack, while Maurice Longbottom scored a try with four minutes to go. He converted the try and kicked a long-range penalty goal two minutes later.

Stand-in captain Zain Davids said playing with a depleted squad was not an excuse.

“We trained hard back home in Stellenbosch and have scenarios like this worked into the sessions,” said Zain Davids.

“We were just not good enough in this match and that is very disappointing. We did not play 100% to our potential, that was our problem, not the numbers.”

Against Samoa, the Blitzboks showed good early momentum and held a 19-0 lead at the break. Tries by Shilton van Wyk, Quewin Nortje and Impi Visser eased them into a strong lead and although Samoa rallied in the second half, the SA side had the points in the bank.

The Blitzboks can still earn valuable log points on Sunday. They face Fiji at 09h00 (SA time) in the fifth place play-off.

“We can still finish strong in the tournament and redeem ourselves,” said Zain Davids.

“We had a good chat in the huddle now and everyone accepted that we did not play according to our standards and that the match against Fiji gives us a change to rectify that. So we come out stronger tomorrow.”


SA 0 (0), Australia 15 (5)
- Tries: Nathan Lawson, Maurice Longbottom. Conversion: Longbottom. Penalty goal: Longbottom.

South Africa 26 (19), Samoa 7 (0)
- Tries: Shilton van Wyk, Quewin Nortje, Impi Visser, Shaun Williams. Conversions: Dewald Human (2).
Samoa - Try: Uaina Sione. Conversion: Des Faoa.