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Johannesburg – South Africa hit back in their final pool match, after a disastrous start, to reach the cup quarter-finals at the New Zealand leg of the Sevens World Series in Wellington on Friday.
The Blitzbokke lost their first two Pool C matches against Samoa and Canada on the opening day, but they secured a 21-0 win over Wales to finish second in the group. They will face Kenya in Saturday's quarterfinals.
Already depleted because of injuries to first-choice players, the Springbok Sevens suffered a further blow when debutant Justin Geduld suffered a broken hand in their second outing against Canada.
The SA Rugby Union confirmed that Geduld would return home on Monday and was likely to be replaced by Branco du Preez.
Playing in their last pool match and needing a comprehensive win, Springbok Sevens captain Frankie Horne opened their scoring against Wales while Stephan Dippenaar added two converted tries as they secured a crucial victory.
Earlier, three second-half tries had given Samoa a 19-10 win against South Africa, while minnows Canada bagged a surprise 26-15 victory.
Blitzbokke coach Paul Treu described the two defeats as a massive wake-up call for his team, and he believed his players had responded well to his call for urgency and purpose against Wales.
“The win over Wales will definitely give the guys a boost for tomorrow against Kenya, who will be a difficult team to play because of their good mix of physicality and speed,” said Treu. – Sapa