The Blitzboks slumped to a shock 29-7 semi-final defeat against England at the Sevens World Cup in San Francisco on Sunday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
This was not a good performance by the Blitzboks. They were outplayed by England, who controlled possession excellently, won the breakdown battle and were more composed in defence.
The Blitzboks will now have to fight for the bronze medal against Fiji at 2:24am on Monday (SA time), while England will take on New Zealand in the final (2:53am).
Selvyn Davids ensured that the Blitzboks got off to a blistering start when he hit a gaping hole in midfield to score a self-converted try.
But then South Africa switched off and England pounced.
Harry Glover and captain Tom Mitchell scored two well-worked tries as England took a 10-7 lead. Mitchell’s effort, in particular, should have sounded warning bells for the Blitzboks, as it came off a restart win – an aspect the South Africans take great pride in.
The Blitzboks’ lack of intensity was again highlighted when an attack was smothered by sloppy work at the breakdown. Justin Geduld was the first man in, but somehow the ball squirted out on England’s side and Ruaridh McConnochie sprinted through the heart of South Africa’s defence for their third.
Trailing 17-7 at the start of the second half, you’d have expected the Blitzboks to launch a comeback. Unfortunately, none was forthcoming as two mistakes by South Africa led to two more tries for England.
Their sudden inability to compete at the breakdown resulted in turnover possession for England and from there, Olly Lindsay-Hague put his foot down and scored at the other end.
The last try came when the Blitzboks won a lineout against the throw, but failed to exit from behind the tryline. In possession close to the line, England simply shifted the ball to the far right where Dan Norton happily took the final pass for an easy run-in.
Photo: Rosko Speckman in action against Fiji, by MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images