Blitz Boks get a boost with win over NZ
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.