Blitz Boks get a boost with win over NZ

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

SOUTH AFRICA scored a morale-boost­ing 21-5 win over New Zealand yes­ter­day to top Pool B at the Emi­rates Air­line Dubai Sev­ens, and booked a quar­ter- fi­nal clash against France to­day.

The Blitz Boks started well and dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion in the first half, cross­ing the try­line twice be­fore scor­ing at their third at­tempt when cap­tain Kyle Brown fit­tingly dot­ted down af­ter Branco du Preez and Mark Richards were both held up in the tackle.

Robert Eber­sohn then took a Boom Prinsloo back­hand pass to score un­der the posts to give South Africa a well-earned 14-0 lead at the break.

DJ Forbes replied for the Ki­wis when play re­sumed and af­ter Frankie Horne had lost the ball go­ing for­ward.

South Africa coach Paul Treu then made some changes and teenager Wil­liam Smal­lSmith, one of the re­place­ments, took the ball at full speed on the sharp an­gle to burst through near the posts to seal the match for the Boks.

South Africa, who claimed third place in the Aus­tralian tour­na­ment last week, should gain much con­fi­dence from their dom­i­nant de­fen­sive dis­play against the pow­er­ful reign­ing World Se­ries cham­pi­ons.

While Treu was un­der­stand­ably sat­is­fied with the per­for­mance against the Ki­wis, he cau­tioned that the un­pre­dictable French will be dif­fi­cult op­po­si­tion in the quar­ters.

“New Zealand are for­mi­da­ble on at­tack and we needed to stick to our game plan, which I think worked very well.

“Branco du Preez came through well af­ter play­ing for the first time in six months while Mark Richards again played a solid match.

“Over­all, I am well pleased but it all starts from scratch to­mor­row against France,” said Treu.

Ear­lier South Africa scored a re­sound­ing 36-7 vic­tory over the USA in their sec­ond match.

Af­ter strug­gling to beat the Ea­gles 17-12 last week in their pool game, the Blitz Boks turned it on against the Amer­i­cans, show­ing them up for flair and pace as half­back Du Preez played a vi­tal part in their turn of for­tunes.

The Boks found space early, with snip­ing runs from Bernardo Botha and Du Preez trou­bling the Amer­i­can de­fence, but it was cap­tain Brown who crossed early to put them up on the score­board. Du Preez was the next to go over, dart­ing through a gap to stretch over the line and get the five poin­ter be­fore he was joined on the score­sheet by Ren­fred Dazel.

The Boks ended off the first half in style as Botha went over in the right cor­ner to give them a 24-0 half­time lead.

In the sec­ond half it took all of two min­utes for the South Africans to get them­selves on the board again, as Prinsloo pow­ered his way over, be­fore the USA fi­nally got some con­so­la­tion with a try to Peter Tiberio, who fi­nally found a hole in the de­fence through good in­ter­play.

How­ever, or­der was re­stored when Richards scored the last try of the game, giv­ing the Blitz Boks a great vic­tory to fol­low on to their ear­lier 17-5 win over Por­tu­gal. – Sapa

CLEAN BREAK: South Africa’s Kyle Brown cuts be­tween Goncalo Foro (right) and Fred­erico Oliveira of Por­tu­gal in Dubai yes­ter­day.

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