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Johannesburg – South Africa made a solid start on day one of the USA Sevens in Las Vegas on Saturday morning (SA time) by winning both of their pool matches against Uruguay and Canada to qualify for the Cup quarterfinals with a match to spare.
The Springbok Sevens stuttered in Wellington last weekend, where they were eliminated in the Plate semi-finals. In the early hours of Saturday however, they got their campaign off to a good start with a 45-0 win over South America qualifiers Uruguay.
They then beat Canada 17-5 to qualify for the knockout stages with one pool match remaining, against fellow Africa participants Kenya.
At the end of day one in Las Vegas, four teams - defending champions Samoa, Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand - had won both of their matches to lead the way, but the Cup quarters remained wide open with the final pool games still to be played later on Saturday.
England, winners in New Zealand last weekend, lost both their matches while Kenya also suffered a defeat.
South Africa scored seven times against Uruguay through Cornal Hendricks (2), Philip Snyman, Paul Delport, Frankie Horne, Chris Dry and Seabelo Senatla while Snyman and Cheslin Kolbe succeeded with five conversions between them.
Hendricks, Warren Whiteley and Stephan Dippenaar were the try scorers in their 17-5 win over Canada, who only managed a late consolation try.
Afterwards, Paul Delport said the team was pleased with their good start.
“It was good to get off to a solid start, something we spoke about a lot during the week. We had a good look at the video of our loss against Canada last week. We came up with a plan on how to counter them and thankfully we stuck to the plan and managed to beat them.
“The guys are not very used to playing over three days, so it was vital for us to get a good start,” explained Delport.
He said there are no longer easy pool games because the World Series is now so much more competitive.
“Every pool game is now like a quarterfinal, so you have to be on top of your game in each match. For tomorrow, we will again just take it one match at a time and look to build momentum as we go along,” added Delport.
South Africa are currently in joint fourth spot on the Sevens World Series standings.– Sapa