Blitzboks topple top team USA as they move up the learning curve

Blitzboks topple top team USA as they move up the learning curve

That’s more like it!  On a day of upset pool results for the top sides in the World Rugby Sevens Series in Vancouver the Blitzboks shocked the USA,  top side in the series, 19-7 in their pool encounter to lead Pool A and progress to the quarter-finals.

South Africa had earlier thrashed Chile 43-0 to make up for last week’s shock when they were held to a draw by the South Americans, and then beat Wales in their second pool match. The win against the USA placed the Blitzboks first in their pool.

They will now meet Argentina in the quarter-finals. The Argentinians were second in Pool D after losing their pool decider against England 14-33.

♦ On the first day in Vancouver, relative newcomers Spain beat New Zealand, home team Canada accounted for Fiji and France shocked Australia in three highly surprising results, with the win by the Blitzboks in the day’s final match also among the upsets.

All the above losers did qualify for the quarter-finals, however, with the exception of Australia who had earlier also lost their pool match to New Zealand. The France win against Australia (21-7) was especially surprising after they had been overrun 46-7 by New Zealand and France qualified with their second win when they beat Spain.

♦ The Blitzboks overwhelmed Chile 43-0 in a much-improved display compared to their campaign last week. They played well against Wales, and then put everything together for the pool decider against the USA.

The Blitzboks tackling was outstanding against a side that had made all five finals to date with one title included. They look after their possession and played with a confidence not seen in this present series.

The way they attacked the breakdowns unsettled the Americans who also had no answer to the swarming defence where there were two, three attackers around the ball carrier to bring him down, prevent good distribution and to win the following ruck.

The passing was crisp, the running lines and support excellent and the options good.

Outstanding in the great team effort was JC Pretorius, and it is clear that the learning curve of the young team is a steeply upward one.

Quarter-final kick-off times ‒

20:08:    South Africa vs Argentina
20:30:    New Zealand vs Fiji
20:52:    England vs USA
21:14:    Samoa vs France.

♦ The semi-finals are played at 00:08 and 00:30 on Monday morning and the Cup final is at 03:19.