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Rugby | Sevens

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Blitzbokke to face France in quarters

The Springbok Sevens team ended day one of the Gold Coast Sevens unbeaten as they put on a dominant performance to beat hosts Australia 21-7.

The victory means the Blitzbokke will face off with France in the quarterfinals on Saturday morning (6:12am SA time).

The victory was by no means easy, and it was done without star Cecil Afrika, who was hurt in the match against Japan after taking a knock to his ribs.

But after opening with a try by Mark Richards, the Blitzbokke had to contend with a game Aussie side, who were keen to take them on physically, much to their own peril later on in the match.

The Wallabies, playing in uncharacteristic navy blue and lime green kit, hit back through a try to Jacob Taylor shortly before the break to send the sides in level after the first seven minutes.

But in the second half, the Blitzbokke looked sheer class, turning on the heat, and Boom Prinsloo and Frankie Horne were exceptional at the breakdown, physically dominating the Aussies and causing a number of turnovers at crucial moments.

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It was Horne who broke through four tackles early in the second half to send Robert Ebersohn away to the line, and a similar big effort at the breakdown by Prinsloo and Horne ensured a loose ball was picked up by Steven Hunt, who hammered the final nail in the Aussie coffin shortly before the final whistle to make sure of the lead.

“It was a hard effort -- especially as we didn’t have our normal playmakers there (referring to Branco du Preez and Cecil Afrika),” Treu said, “but the guys put extra work in and guys like Paul Delport and Boom Prinsloo made a massive impact when they came on the field. We made a lot of mistakes and struggled a bit as we haven’t played competitively for a while now.

“But saying that I’m happy with the effort. It was a tough day at the office for us, and it isn’t easy. Teams are a lot more physical now, and they play a lot more direct.”

Treu said he was wary of the French, who will pose a tricky threat to the Blitzbokke.

“I’ve seen so many teams lose when they think they are going to win. We can’t take anything for granted here. We need to be at our best, we can’t afford to be surprised tomorrow,” Treu added.

There were no real surprises on day one, other than Wales’ 21-5 win over England, and France’s 31-14 win over Argentina, but in both games the teams are pretty evenly matched in most tournaments.

Earlier the Blitzbokke opened their account by coming from 5-12 behind to register a late rally for a 17-12 win over the USA, and then watched as Chris Dry put together a hat-trick as they beat Japan 31-7.

Day one results

Pool A: New Zealand 26 Kenya 5, Fiji 38 Niue 0, New Zealand 38 Niue 0, Fiji 26 Kenya 7, Kenya 19 Niue 7, New Zealand 28 Fiji 5

Pool B: South Africa 17 USA 12, Australia 33 Japan 0, South Africa 31 Japan 7, Australia 22 USA 7, USA 21 Japan 0, South Africa 21 Australia 7

Pool C: Argentina 33 Papua New Guinea 0, Samoa 24 France 14, Samoa 38 Papua New Guinea 0, Argentina 14 France 31, France 33 Papua New Guinea 5, Samoa 29 Argentina 0

Pool D: Wales 24 Tonga 7, England 24 Scotland 5, England 19 Tonga 0, Wales 14 Scotland 12, Scotland 14 Tonga 12, Wales 21 England 7.


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