The Blitzboks ended day one of the Dubai Sevens tournament unbeaten but there will a be a sense of unease after they narrowly beat the United States by 19-17.
South Africa advance to the quarterfinals, where they will face either England or New Zealand, who still play each other Friday evening.
This was a strange game in many respects.
The scoreline felt superficially close, especially after Seabelo Senatla’s second try – an impressive sixth in three matches – opened up a nine-point lead with merely 60 seconds left.
However, Perry Baker’s try after the siren was telling enough to leave observers wondering whether the US had missed out on a golden opportunity to claim the Blitzboks’ scalp.
Two of Madison Hughes’ three conversions hit the upright and had he converted both, the Americans would’ve triumphed.
South Africa will need to maintain their intensity if they are to progress in this tournament.
There was already some evidence of them slacking off during the 21-5 win over Scotland.
Senatla and the experienced Cecil Afrika’s tries in the first half we both beautifully rounded off, providing testament to the Blitzboks’ ability on the attack.
They generally defended well too but given the cut-and-thrust nature of the sevens game, that sometimes simply isn’t enough, especially when concentration levels fluctuate.
More accomplished opponents will exploit that better than the US did.
Point-scorers: Blitzboks 19 (14) – Tries: Seabelo Senatla (2), Cecil Afrika. Conversions: Branco du Preez (2). USA 17 (5) – Try: Perry Baker (2), Stephen Tomasin. Conversion: Madison Hughes.