By Mark Etheridge
The Blitzboks rugby sevens side edged closer and closer to their first tournament win since Capet Town four months ago as they hung on for a 12-7 Cup quarter-final win against New Zealand in Singapore on Sunday.
A confident start saw South Africa off to a dream start as their go-to guy, Seabelo Senatla scorched in for a try in the left hand to give Neil Powell’s men a 5-0 lead.
But that lead only lasted four minutes as the dangerous Kurt Baker went the direct route under the poles and the conversion saw the Kiwis claim a 7-5 lead.
Once again the Blitzboks blasted back and it was Kyle Brown, the ‘veteran’ captain who finished off a lengthy move which saw just about every South African handle the ball.
The conversion saw them lead 12-7 at halftime.
And that’s the way it stayed as the Bitzboks defended for their lives.
The Kiwis threw wave after wave of attack at the Blitzboks but they put their bodies on the line.
Senegal nearly paid for a mistake that saw him hoof the ball out as he thought time was up but the referee played on and the New Zealanders came back strongly and were camped on the SA line. But a penalty at the breakdown saw SA being able to kick out for a well-fought victory while New Zealand had Liam Messam yellow-carded after the hooter for knocking the ball away needlessly.
The Blitzboks now play another arch-rival in the form of Fiji at 10.26am SA time on Sunday.
Picture of New Zealand’s Dylan Collier (R) of New Zealand fending off a challenge by Kyle Brown courtesy of Getty Images