There was some good news from Germany for South African rugby fans after the loss to the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup on Saturday when the SA Sevens team advanced to the semi-final of the Oktoberfest Sevens in Munich.
They finished unbeaten in their pool of four sides, accounting for New Zealand (19-12), England (24-5) and Australia (26-19) in Saturday’s pool matches.
The Blitzboks will play hosts Germany in the one semi-final. Germany surprised when they beat the United States in their first match and also came out on top against a poor France sevens team.
Although most of the eight teams are still way off the mark for the first tournament in the World Rugby Sevens series and not necessarily at full strength. Their three matches on Day One on Saturday showed that the Blitzboks should again be one of the leading sides in the series that starts in December.
♦ SA Rugby Communications reports that South Africa started the day with a win over New Zealand, before getting past England. This left them with a pool decider against Australia, where tries by Zain Davids and a brace by Selvyn Davids in the first half opened up a 19-0 lead at the break from which the men from Down Under could not recover.
Australia did score first in the second half, but a fourth try by Shakes Soyizwapi again extended the lead. Although the Aussies pulled two tries back, it was too late to overhaul the South Africans, who improved on attack as the tournament progressed.
The win against England seemed laboured at times. South Africa’s leading try-scorer on the first day, Kurt-Lee Arendse, got a hat-trick, with Soyizwapi getting the fourth try.
Arendse and Soyizwapi scored in the first half, with two conversions by Selvyn Davids handing the team a 14-0 lead at the break.
That was extended to 19 points with Arendse getting a second, before England showed some intent on attack with a long range try. Arendse raced away from the restart though to confirm a perfect start for South Africa.
Earlier, in their opening encounter against New Zealand, an early try by Arendse set the tone of the South African attack. Stedman Gans created some space with a good inside pass and Arendse raced away from 50 meters out.
In a tight match, with defences on both sides very strong, tries were always going to be few and far-between, and New Zealand's Regan Ware's converted try on the halftime hooter was the only other points of the opening half.
A nice show and go by Branco du Preez saw the playmaker dotting down and converting his own try to restore the seven-point lead. That was cut down to two points soon after when New Zealand got one back.
South Africa finished stronger though and a try by Dewald Human extended the lead and confirmed the slight dominance of his team.
vs Australia - Tries: Zain Davids, Selvyn Davids (2), Shakes Soyizwapi. Conversions: Selvyn Davids (3).
vs England - Tries: Kurt-Lee Arendse (3), Shakes Soyizwapi. Conversions: Selvyn Davids (2).
vs New Zealand - Tries: Dewald Human, Branco du Preez, Kurt-Lee Arendse. Conversions: Branco du Preez (2).
Semi-final fixtures on Sunday
11:44: South Africa v Germany
12:06: New Zealand v Fiji