South Africa booked a Cup quarter-final berth after beating Japan 12-0, Argentina 17-5 and thrashing England 38-0 to finish top of Pool A on day one of the Vancouver Sevens.
South Africa, who won the title in Los Angeles a week ago and are impressing in Olympic year, opened their campaign with a tough win against Japan, and they followed it up with superb victories over Argentina and England.
South Africa’s stunning unbeaten run in the pool stage sees them set up an enticing quarter-final against the USA, who finished as runners-up in Pool D.
The match against Argentina was a grind, especially in the first half as they came from behind to take a slender 7-5 lead at the break. But a better showing in the second half ultimately saw South Africa seal a comfortable 17-5 win with Muller du Plessis, Ryan Oosthuizen and captain Stedman Gans accounting for the tries.
Heading into the final round of pool matches, both South Africa and England were undefeated but the latter team were top of the log thanks to a far greater points differential after big wins over Japan and Argentina.
Taking that into account and the fact that England are somewhat of a bogey team for South Africa, it sure was set to be a test of Neil Powell’s team character and mettle.
As it turned out, South Africa saved their best for last. They ran in six unanswered tries to humiliate England 38-0. Du Plessis, who was influential and scored in the previous two matches, continued his time fine form by bagging a hat-trick against England. Gans, Selvyn Davids and Chris Dry were the others who went over for tries to complete the rout of England.
Photo: Muller du Plessis