The Blitzboks took an important step towards the overall World Sevens Series title in Paris on Saturday by qualifying for a ninth consecutive Cup quarter-final spot in the 2016/17 series.
They will face Samoa on Sunday in the last eight of the Paris Sevens, the same opponent who knocked them out of contention at the same stage of last year’s tournament.
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Chris Dry scored a hat-trick of tries for the Blitzboks against Canada. Photo: Martin Seras Lima, BackpagePix
South Africa lead their nearest contenders for the overall title, defending champions Fiji, by 25 points with one tournament left.
By reaching the Cup quarters after beating Canada 31-0, they kept their stronghold on the grip they have established in their title run, which included four tournament wins and seven consecutive finals.
The Blitzboks recovered well from an early loss against Scotland in their opening game at the Stade Jean Bouin, scoring 66 points in the following matches against Japan and Canada, with the last one a crucial one to go into the Cup competition.
Scotland earlier beat Canada as well to top the pool and only the winner of the South Africa/Canada match would progress into the last eight.
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell was pretty happy with the fire in the belly shown by his team after the unexpected defeat against Scotland.
“We knew Canada was a very important game for us, not only for this tournament, but in the context of the series. The guys went out there and fought hard, as we really wanted this result,” Powell said.
“They knew a draw or loss would put us out of the Cup competition, so really went out there to rectify the mistakes from that opening game against Scotland. We were disappointed about that first one.”
Powell was full of praise for Samoa, who finished the day undefeated. “Samoa will be physical. We lost against them in last year at the same stage; hopefully we can change the result.”
South Africa scored 31 unanswered points against Canada, who won the previous World Series tournament in Singapore. Chris Dry, playing in his 61st tournament, scored a hat-trick of tries in a strong second-half showing, while Werner Kok dotted down twice.
South Africa outplayed Japan 35-5 in their second match.
Earlier, the Springbok Sevens team suffered a 19-12 loss in the opening match in Paris.
Paris Sevens Quarter-Finals
10.28am: Scotland v Fiji, 10.50am: England v USA, 11.12am: Samoa v South Africa, 11.34am: New Zealand v France.