The Blitzboks nearly undid a good start and a 14-0 lead in their last pool match of the Paris tournament but did come back to beat last weekend’s losing finalists Australia 19-17.
They thus won their Pool C for the outstanding achievement of winning their pool section in all ten the tournaments of the 2018/19 World Rugby Sevens Series.
The Blitzboks are the defending champions for the Paris tournament and are aiming for a hat trick of titles, as they also won the 2017 tournament. They play Samoa in Sunday's quarterfinals (12:34 SA time)
♦ Earlier on Saturday South Africa beat Wales and Kenia before they came up against the Aussies.
Wales controlled the ball for the first six minutes, but Muller du Plessis, with the Blitzboks team’s first touch of the ball scored a cheeky blindside try and the conversion made the halftime score 7-0.
After the break a further three tries by South Africa followed and it was especially good to see Cecil Afrika, who had been off the field with a serious leg injury for the past 11 tournament that included last year’s France sevens showpiece, score one of his trademark tries.
The Blitzboks won this encounter 22-7.
On a day where coach Neil Powell gave a number of the younger players an opportunity to start and also changed the combinations with a view to the future, Mfundo Ndhlovu impressed in only his fourth tournament and is one for the future, while Muller du Plessis again looked a complete player.
Kenya were beaten 27-12 in the second match and then came the Australian clash, perhaps the most challenging opponent on paper but also South Africa’s most average performance.
♦ Earlier in the day Wales and Kenia, in a battle with Japan to avoid relegation from the series, both showed their potential. Kenia drew with Australia and finished second in the pool and Wales third after beating Australia, with the Aussies fourth and winless in the pool round.
♦ England, without their best players who were ‘rested to prevent injuries’ (what for no one knows!) lost all three their matches to Fiji, Ireland and Argentina. Their negative points difference is the easily the biggest of all the teams.
This performance of England’s new players underlined how well first Paul True and now Neil Powell have done in bringing through young players for the future in this competition.
The quarterfinals on Sunday are as follows –
11:28 Fiji vs France
11:50 USA vs Kenya
12:12 New Zealand vs Argentina
12:34 South Africa vs Samoa