Defeat to Fiji sours Blitzboks’ weekend

Vatemo Ravouvou of Fiji offloads while being tackled by Siviwe Soyizwapi of SA during day 2 of the HSBC Cape Town Sevens match 39, Cup Semi Final match between SA vs Fiji at Cape Town Stadium on December 9 2018.
Vatemo Ravouvou of Fiji offloads while being tackled by Siviwe Soyizwapi of SA during day 2 of the HSBC Cape Town Sevens match 39, Cup Semi Final match between SA vs Fiji at Cape Town Stadium on December 9 2018.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

The Blitzboks’ weak start to the 2018/19 HSBC World Sevens Series continued with semifinal elimination at the Cape Town leg on Sunday.

More disappointingly‚ Fiji were down to six men in the final two minutes with the scores locked at 12-12 and SA failed to maximise their chance. Instead they again coughed up possession and from the scrum‚ Fiji scored through Alosio Naduva with a lightning attack down the blindside.

How the Blitzboks‚ with an extra man on the field‚ were caught short on defence on the short side‚ is a mystery. Defeat was the Blitzboks' fifth loss of the season after losing three matches in Dubai.

It’s the worst start to a campaign in almost a decade and coach Neil Powell is clearly battling to fill the gaps left by the departures of so many key players over the past few years.

Against Scotland the Blitzboks overcame a yellow card and some defensive lapses to advance to the showdown with Fiji. In that match Soyizwapi earned a first half yellow card for a high tackle and was lucky to not concede a second yellow after the break with two more high tackles.

The Blitzboks made a bright start with a well-taken try from the impressive Geduld‚ but were rocked back when Scotland’s Sam Pecquer scored from a lineout earned following a penalty against Kok for playing the ball on the ground.

After the break Specman scored from a clever grubber by Geduld‚ but a second try from Pecquer a minute later left just two points in it as the game reached its climax.

Kyle Brown was penalised for playing the ball on the ground and Scotland criminally missed their touch finder‚ which would have given them a lineout inside the SA’s 22-metre area with only 30 seconds on the clock.

From the gifted possession the Blitzboks broke from deep and Kok scored to seal a win that was anything but comfortable.

The Blitzboks also went into the match without captain Philip Snyman and Muller du Plessis‚ who were both ruled out of the tournament through injury. Snyman has a shoulder injury and Du Plessis a lower back problem.

- TimesLIVE


X