Impressive Boks through to Sevens quarters
South Africa on Saturday duly qualified for the quarter-finals of the Adelaide tournament of the IRB Sevens International Series when they beat Japan 43-0 in the second round in Pool D on a day where Australia also ensured a quarters berth with their second upset win of the tournament in beating Samoa 26-19.
The Springboks play Kenya in their final pool match later on Saturday but will advance even should they lose. Kenya beat the somewhat disappointing Cook Islands 27-0 and were more impressive than in the first round when they were made to work hard for their close 12-5 win against Japan.
South Africa’s win was the biggest of the tournament and also the highest score recorded to date. They looked sharp against a side that did not pose the same challenge as in Hong Kong in a competition where the matches are generally becoming more closely contested by the tournament.
A feature of the match was the hat-trick by South Africa’s latest addition to their squad Lionel Mapoe—and man of whom coach Paul Treu expects much.
The win by Australia, who beat England on Friday, has ensured that the match between Samoa and England in the third and final pool round later on Saturday will be a decider with the winner joining Australia of Pool A in the quarters.
The elimination of England from the quarters would be a further setback for their chances of winning the Series and a boost for the log-leading Springboks.
Australia’s win was their first over Samoa in four years and came after they were 12-0 behind only two minutes into the game. The Aussies will be a factor in the play-offs, especially before their home crowd.
Tonga, never easy customers, were put in their place by an impressive New Zealand who won 33-0, while England and Wales recovered from opening day losses to beat Portugal and USA 29-0 and 24-14 respectively.—Sapa