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Blitzboks barge past England to make quarter-finals

Blitzboks

By Mark Etheridge

A slow start against England converted into a classy display as the Blitzboks Sevens side booked their place in the HSBC Hamilton Sevens quarter-finals in New Zealand on Saturday.

Wins against Papua New Guinea (36-5) and Russia (38-0) had come in their first two Pool B games and it was everything to play for in Game 20 of the tournament after England had also won both their pool games.

England dominated the early stages and it was only with 4min 30sec to play in the half that South Africa strung their first pass together, from a line-out.

But from that stage on it was all coach Neil Powell’s men with the first try coming from that first move as Tim Agaba went over down the left.

Then it was Seabelo Senatla who got in on the action as he went over untouched for his 216th try in Sevens Series rugby and within four of England’s Ben Gollings, the fourth highest try scorer in sevens history.

The Blitzboks ended the half on a high with yet another Senatla try. That came from some excellent work on the ground by Werner Kok to turn over possession.

That saw the Blizboks go into halftime with a handy 21-0 lead.

Midway through the second half there was bitter/sweetness for the Blitzboks with first Dylan Sage poleaxed by a dangerous tackle which saw England No12 Ryan Olowofela sin-banned for two minutes.

The resultant penalty saw Rosko Specman going over after a cheeky chip kick while the medical team worked on the prone Sage.

Good news was that Sage was able to walk off unassisted and later took his place on the Blizboks bench.

With the Blitzboks 28-0 to the good they should also have been a man to the good after Dan Norton had patently pulled Senatla back before the speedster had the ball.

However Australian referee Damian Murphy only saw fit to award a penalty instead of flashing the yellow card.

There was consolation for England as Norton added further insult to injury as Norton went over under the posts for England’s only score of the game.

That saw the final score 28-7 and mention must be made of some classic conversion kicking by the Blitzboks’ Justin Geduld who failed to miss a kick, including some acutely angled efforts.

The Blitzboks will now face Scotland in their quarter-final match on Sunday.

Picture of Kok on the charge against England courtesy of Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images


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