Blitzboks face New Zealand in Dubai quarters
Blitzboks coach Neil Powell has warned his team that they will need to sort out their defence if they hope to win the Dubai Sevens on Saturday.
The Springbok Sevens emerged unbeaten from Friday’s Pool B action, but were made to sweat by Scotland and then USA later in the day after trouncing Uganda 46-0 in the morning.
The Blitzboks were actually 5-0 down at halftime to the Scots, who had beaten the South Africans in the London Cup final last season, and Powell would’ve been a worried man at the break. But a yellow card early in the second half saw them hit back through Seabelo Senatla and Rosko Specman to triumph 21-5 and secure a place in the Cup quarter-final.
New captain Philip Snyman’s charges were just 14-10 up late in the piece against USA, but a mistake by American captain Madison Hughes inside his 22 saw Senatla clinching victory with his sixth try of the day.
Now they have to take on a new-look Kiwi outfit that was dispatched 26-12 by a rampant England in the final pool game of the day, but still have game-breakers such as Scott Curry, Sherwin Stowers and Tim Mikkelson to cause problems for the South Africans.
“Happy with the results on day one, and that we achieved our goals of topping our pool. But still one or two errors, especially in the defensive system, that we need to look at and need to correct before we go into that first game tomorrow morning,” Powell said.
“I think you can’t fault the guys’ work ethic in defence, but still one or two system errors that we need to get right tomorrow morning – otherwise teams like New Zealand or England can make you pay for it. But we are happy, and the big positive for us is no injuries.
“We knew that Scotland would up for that one after they beat us in London last season. We made too many errors there and gave them too much possession. We are a good attacking side and need to keep the ball. It’s a massive game for us tomorrow, it’s all about our standards.”
Saturday’s Dubai Cup Quarter-Finals (SA times)
9am: Fiji vs France
9.22am: England vs Scotland
9.44am: Australia vs Wales
10.06am: South Africa vs New Zealand@ashfakmohamed