Blitzboks stumble against Australia but top Pool in Sydney

The Blitzboks topped Pool D despite losing 29-21 to home side Australia in their final match on a wet day in New South Wales. SA will face England in the quarterfinals.
The Blitzboks topped Pool D despite losing 29-21 to home side Australia in their final match on a wet day in New South Wales. SA will face England in the quarterfinals.
Image: GETTY IMAGES

The Blitzboks’ erratic form this season continued despite topping their Pool at the Sydney leg of the HSBC World Sevens series on Saturday.

The Blitzboks topped Pool D despite losing 29-21 to home side Australia in their final match on a wet day in New South Wales. SA will face England in the quarterfinals.

Earlier wins over Tonga (45-5) and Argentina (25-10) were enough to ensure that the Blitzboks were in the last eight before taking on Australia in their final pool match.

The trailed 17-0 at one stage against the home team‚ after failing to control any restarts‚ which resulted in three unanswered tries for the men in gold.

SA fought back with three tries to lead 21-17‚ but a dubious yellow card against Justin Geduld for a supposed deliberate knock-on‚ allowed Australia to finish strongly with two late tries.

Blitzbok coach Neil Powell bemoaned his team’s mediocre defence in Hamilton last week‚ but the same problems resurfaced. Conceding eight tries on day one‚ is unlike Blitzbok teams in recent seasons.

“We did some good things on the day but some poor things too‚” Powell said. “Especially in the first half in that last game against Australia.

“We couldn’t control the kick-offs and made basic errors that put us 17-0 down. We came back well in the second half and created a few opportunities‚ but the yellow card cost us in the end there.

“But this is a young team and without Philip Snyman and Kyle Brown out there‚ there were no real leaders‚ so they did well. It was definitely a step up from last week.”

Brown is the official reserve for the tournament while Snyman was ruled out of the Australia clash after suffering a cut to the face against Argentina.

The other quarterfinals see Australia take on joint-series leaders Fiji‚ New Zealand face France and the USA meet the fast improving Spain.


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