Blitzbokke whip All Blacks
The Springbok Sevens produced one of their most emphatic performances ever on the HSBC World Series circuit to demolish defending World Champions New Zealand 31-21 in their final Pool A game at the Gold Coast 7s.
The Blitzbokke turned it on and sprinted to a 19-0 lead in the first half, led 31-7 in the second but then allowed two late tries for New Zealand to lend some respectablity to the scoreline.
It means the Blitzbokke win their Pool and will now face France in the quarterfinals of the Cup competition at 3.58am CAT (SA, GMT+2) on Sunday morning, as they continue their quest for the tournament crown.
Two tries to birthday boy Paul Delport and three more – to Cornal Hendricks, Frankie Horne and Stephan Dippenaar – ensured the Blitzbokke one of their biggest ever Sevens victories under Paul Treu.
When you consider the dominance that the All Black Sevens team has had over the Blitzbokke – the South African team has won just 11 of 48 clashes – and the fact that the last time these two teams met, in London in May this year, the All Blacks won 36-0, then it becomes clearer what a magnificent performance it was.
All the hard work from the pre-season paid off, and with a fit and confident squad under his control, coach Treu got the best out of them on a day where they were superb on both attack and defence, played with passion, and ran some excellent lines on attack to flummox their opposition.
But the most impressive point of the day, and especially in the New Zealand game, was the way they managed to impose themselves on the opposition, and create that pressure that forces mistakes that can be turned into points.
The Blitzbokke couldn’t have asked for a better start to the game, as just 45 seconds into the game, they took their first setpiece ball and Delport delivered a perfect pass on the angle to Hendricks, who raced through without a hand being laid upon him for the opening try.
A minute and a half later New Zealand coughed up the ball again, and this time a beautiful one-two between Cecil Afrika and Delport gave the scrumhalf his first try as he took the inside pass and ran in untouched.
New Zealand, missing a few key players, looked shell-shocked. They were even more in trouble when Frankie Horne scooped up a ball dropped on New Zealand’s own scrum and ran in for an easy try to put the Blitzbokke 19-0 up with seconds to go before halftime.
New Zealand struck back after the hooter, as they showed some excellent pressure interplay, which saw veteran Tim Mikkelson go over in the corner for a 19-7 halftime deficit.
Stephan Dippenaar made his presence felt early in the second half as he first made a run deep into All Black territory before offloading to Delport for the try, and then snatched a dropped All Black pass to run 60 metres to seal the game.
New Zealand did score late tries through Iopu Iopu and Rhys Llewellyn, but it was never going to be enough to catch the Boks.
Earlier the Blitzbokke laid the groundwork for the Pool victory by downing Canada 38-0 and then beating a game USA side 33-5 in their first two pool games.
The shock of the day however, was England’s failure to qualify for the Cup competition after struggling to a 13-10 win over Spain, drawing 14-all with Kenya and losing their main game to Samoa 19-17 to send them to the Bowl competition.
Sevens kingpins Fiji lost 15-14 to Australia, who finished the pool stage unbeaten along with South Africa and Samoa.
CUP QUARTERFINALS (all times are CAT, SA, GMT +2)
3.58am South Africa v France
4.20am Samoa v Fiji
4.42am Argentina v New Zealand
5.04am Australia v Kenya