The Blitzboks will hope to have better luck at the Cape Town Stadium next Saturday and Sunday after a number of controversial refereeing decisions contributed to their surprise exit from the Cup competition in Dubai on Saturday at the hands of giant-killers USA.
Having led 19-7 in the second half of the Cup quarter-final against the Americans, the Blitzboks looked on course for a semi-final spot in Dubai.
But with three minutes to go, Seabelo Senatla was yellow-carded for taking out a US player in the air – it was an unfortunate situation for a Blitzbok flyer as he got his timing slightly wrong when going in for the challenge.
The Americans hit back immediately through Matai Leuta, and a minute later, renowned US speedster Carlin Isles was put into a gap to race away for the decisive try, as Madison Hughes slotted the winning conversion.
But when Senatla returned with a minute left, the Blitzboks launched one last attack to snatch victory. However, the referee penalised Hougaard for supposedly not supporting his own body weight at a ruck close to the US 22-metre line, when the South Africans looked like they were well on their way to scoring the winning try.
That was the second upset produced by the Americans, who had shocked New Zealand 14-12 on Friday, and then beat the Kiwis for a second time 31-12 in Saturday's Cup third-place playoff.
There was some consolation for Neil Powell's team in Dubai when they won the Plate final 19-14 against Australia in extra time, with Francois Hougaard scoring the winning try to secure 13 points and fifth place on the World Sevens Series log.
World Sevens Series champions Fiji beat England 28-17 in the Dubai Cup final.
But Powell will be sweating on the fitness of two Blitzboks stars, Cecil Afrika and World Player of the Year Werner Kok, ahead of the Cape Town Sevens. "Werner injured his knee in the quarter-final and Cecil felt a hamstring strain on day one, so we didn't wanted to risk him and that's why he played no further part in the tournament," the coach said.
"Both players will undergo scans back home in Cape Town and they will be given as much time as possible to recover to come into consideration for selection for our home tournament."
Blitzboks Day 1 Cape Town Fixtures
Original source: Blitzboks draw England in Cape Sevens