Rugby 20.5.2017 09:50 pm

Slumping Blitzboks manage to reach London quarters

A fumbling day for the Blitzboks. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images.

A fumbling day for the Blitzboks. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images.

Neil Powell’s men are still on track for a cherry on top of their superb World Series campaign but struggled on Saturday.

The Blitzboks on Saturday suffered a 24-12 defeat to the USA in pool A of the London Sevens tournament but still achieved close wins over Kenya and Wales to progress to the Cup quarterfinals.

South Africa have made all ten Cup quarterfinals in the 2016/17 series on route to the overall title, secured last weekend in Paris.

They will face England in the last eight.

The Blitzboks gained narrow 12-10 wins over both Kenya and Wales in their opening two matches.

Both times, the opponents had the opportunity to draw the match with the final kick of play yet both times the conversions went wide and South Africa escaped.

In the opening match against Kenya, tries by Ruhan Nel and Rosko Specman and a crucial conversion by Cecil Afrika secured the win.

Against Wales, tries by Specman and Philip Snyman and the conversion by Branco du Preez confirmed qualification into the Cup quarters.

The USA still had to beat South Africa to secure their entry and that showed as they played with more urgency in a match they needed to win.

The Blitzboks conceded eight tries on the first day and scored only six. That’s something they will be keen to improve on, said Springbok Sevens captain, Philip Snyman.

“We pride ourselves on our defence and this was not our best effort on day one. Credit to all our opponents as well, we had three really tough matches,” he said.

“At least we are in still in the race and will come back tomorrow with a positive mind-set. We will have to play very well though. England will be pumped in front of their home crowd, but that will not deter us. We know what we are capable of when we follow our processes and that is exactly what we will be trying to do.”

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