Blitzboks face feared Fiji in Dubai Sevens
THE SPRINGBOK Sevens squad have the tough task of facing Fiji in the cup quarter-final of the Dubai Sevens Series after losing 19-14 to a young Australian squad yesterday.
Had the Boks won, they would have been up against England which would have been a less daunting challenge than facing the Sevens specialists.
In both opening tournaments of last season, Fiji kept the Boks from reaching the finals.
Failure to protect the ball at the breakdown resulted in many turnovers and some serious attention needs to be paid to this aspect of the Springbok game if they are to achieve success.
For the second time in the day’s play Cecil Afrika scored the opening try for the Blitzboks which he also converted.
Unlike in the first two fixtures of the day, Paul Treu’s charges looked far more composed, but still failed to put enough pressure on the Australians who wasted no time to wipe out the early deficit and entered halftime with a deserved 12-7 lead.
Debutant John Grant, who scored his team’s second try in the first half, added five more points after the break when Australia out-muscled the Boks at a ruck.
Grant scored five tries on his first day with the top teams.
Afrika eventually restored some pride with a fine finish, but it was too late and probably the deserved result on a day of mixed fortunes for the inexperienced South African squad.
After a solid victory against Russia, the Boks were held to a 19-all draw by Scotland.
Having looked the better side they had to endue a courageous fight-back from the Scots and conceded a try to draw seconds from the whistle.
Had it not been for the missed conversion attempt by Andrew Skeen – his kick striking the upright – the Boks would not have had any chance of reaching the cup quarter-finals.
Against Russia Afrika and Kyle Brown showed that they are starting to get the hang of the highpaced version of the game while Bernardo Botha is sure to celebrate the try he scored on debut.
The consistency that Treu asked for from his team was not delivered on the day. Had the squad, which features six new players, managed to give Treu what he wanted it would have been interesting to see how tough they could have made life for their opponents. – Sapa
HAIR RAISING: Cecil Afrika’s try restored some pride in the defeat to Australia.