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Rugby | Sevens

Kyle Brown © Gallo Images

Blitzbokke's day of shame



The Springbok Sevens team produced their worst performance in more than a decade as they failed to make the quarterfinals of the Dubai Sevens Cup competition on a day of upsets in the desert.

While it rained for the first time at the tournament since 2006 -- a rare occurance in the sandy Emirate -- the Blitzbokke found they could not find the same form in the wet as the last time and bowed out unceremoniously after defeats at the hands of Samoa and Portugal in the “group of death”.

In 2006 the Blitzbokke beat England to claim the title in the rain, but on Friday it was the double defending champions, England, who were ousted as they were beaten by both South Africa and Portugal as the minnows of world rugby surprisingly topped Group C.

The results mean that the Blitzbokke now can only play for the Bowl honours, and will face Russia in their quarterfinal at 7:42am (GMT+2, CAT) as they hope to salvage some pride from their dismal day at the office.

It was their worst performance under current coach Paul Treu and the first time the team has not made the Cup quarterfinals since Wellington in 2001 -- after they were shocked in that tournament by the Cook Islands.

While Portugal should be congratulated for their giant-killing act, the Blitzbokke will shake their heads as they battled to find their own rhythm, failed to attack space and were sucked into contact and overpowered at the breakdown at times in all three games.

Add to this a number of crucial unforced errors on attack in the wet, and missed tackles and it is obvious where the Blitzbokke had come undone on such a tough day at the office.

However, this all came on the back of a great opening win over 2010 and 2011 champions England, as the Blitzbokke outscored them three tries to two in the opening match to set the trend.

Against Portugal the wheels came off as they struggled to contain the nuggety Portuguese enthusiasm, and spilled good attacking ball to lose to a try after the hooter, although it must be said they never looked like they were in control of the game.

The same can be said in the final game against Samoa, where the Blitzbokke did their best to cough up every piece of decent attacking ball and looked unravelled without captain Kyle Brown, who was out of the tournament after breaking his ankle in the opening minutes of the game against England.

FIXTURES FOR DAY TWO

Bowl Quarterfinals (all times CAT, GMT+2)

7:20am Spain vs US
7:42am South Africa v Russia
8:04am Australia v Scotland
8:26am England v Argentina

Cup quarterfinals

8:50am Fiji v France
9:12am Samoa v Wales
9:34am Canada v Kenya
9:56am New Zealand v Portugal

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As the most capped Springbok ever, Victor Matfield is a national hero who transcends rugby provincialism and has fans across the world
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