Blitzbok victory comes at a high cost
The Springbok Sevens side got their Dubai Sevens tournament off to a rousing success, beating defending champions England 19-10 in their opening match in the tournament on Friday.
However the victory may have come at a massive cost as captain Kyle Brown had to limp off with a serious looking ankle injury early in the match.
While no official word has come yet with how Brown’s injury is, with two tough pool games ahead of them today, and the Cup knockouts on Saturday, the team desperately need Brown after already losing Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez to injury before the tournament started.
Still, the victory was a controlled one, even though there was little flash that the team normally brings to these events.
In outscoring England three tries to two, the Blitzbokke benefitted from two yellow cards to the visitors for professional fouls on defence, as well as some great work on defence to win the game.
But they made heavy weather on attack as they started well, starved England of possession and had to wait until the fourth minute before a blindside move by Paul Delport gave Chris Dry the ball on the switch and he stepped inside the defender to open the score.
England struck back after Tshotsho Mbovane missed a crucial tackle in the midfield, with Tom Powell powering his way to the line after a clear break.
The Blitzbokke kept on attacking, and Delport himself went over, but only after Marcus Watson was sinbinned for not releasing Cornal Hendricks in the tackle, after the big winger had carved his way through the first line of defence.
England struck early in the second half as speedster Dan Norton chased a kick and won to bring them within two.
But despite attacking the Bok line for most of the half, a turnover saw Stephan Dippenaar sprint away downfield to score the winning try and give the Boks a great start to the tournament.
The Blitzbokke will now face Portugal, who just went down 24-19 to Samoa in the other pool game of the morning, at 1:06pm (CAT, GMT+2).
Their final game is against the Samoans at 5:44pm. All games are on SS6.