Blitzboks hold off USA for perfect Dubai start

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Seabelo Senatla’s brace, as well as two successful conversions by Branco du Preez proved to be the difference in the end as the Springbok Sevens ended day one with a 100 percent record to advance to the Cup quarter-final.

They will only know later on Friday who their opponents will be, as that will be decided by New Zealand-England Pool C encounter, with the losing team having to face the Blitzboks at 10.06am (SA time) on Saturday.

Neil Powell’s team made the perfect start as they scored inside 30 seconds when former captain Kyle Brown drew the defence superbly before unleashing Cecil Afrika into a gap.

The Americans’ only real threat on the field was speedster Perry Baker, but he was heavily dumped by Werner Kok early on.

Senatla created some breathing space for the South Africans when he left two defenders for dead to coast over under the posts for his first touchdown that gave his team a 14-0 lead.

Baker, though, wasn’t going to be denied as he chipped over the Blitzbok defence from inside his 22, and kicked the ball forward a few times as Chris Dry gave chase. His last soccer dribble took him away from Dry for a sensational touchdown to bring USA back into the game.

They took advantage of uncharacteristically poor defence from the South Africans soon afterwards as well as they stood off Stephen Tomasin as he made his way to the 22. Tomasin put the foot down and Rosko Specman was too late to stop him, and suddenly it was a four-point ball-game.

But USA were chasing the result, and captain Madison Hughes threw a pass that didn’t go to hand inside his own 22, which was snapped up by Ruhan Nel, who offloaded to Senatla for his sixth try of the day.

Baker’s second came after the hooter, so USA were knocked out of the Cup as Scotland advanced to the quarter-finals.

Points scorers:

South Africa – Tries: Cecil Afrika, Seabelo Senatla (2). Conversions: Branco du Preez (2).

USA – Tries: Perry Baker (2), Stephen Tomasin. Conversion: Madison Hughes (1).

ashfak.mohamed@inl.co.za

@ashfakmohamed

Independent Media

Original source: Blitzboks hold off USA for perfect Dubai start

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