THE Blitzbokke got their Hong Kong campaign of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series to a winning start with a shaky 17-10 win over France at the Hong Kong Stadium.
The South Africans, who lead the world series standings, were quick out of the blocks by scoring two tries by Siviwe Soyizwaphi in the second minute of the game followed by another three minutes later by Branco du Preez.
Soyizwaphi’s try came from a turnover at the ruck when the Mthatha-born speedster picked up the ball at the base of the French ruck to sprint all of 70 metres for the opening score.
Du Preez’s try was engineered deep in the Blitzbokke’s half from a failed clearance kick by France and after several phases of play and quick recycling, it was Du Preez who cantered over the line and came within three points of the magical 1000 points mark.
The Blitzbokke let their guard down in the closing two minutes of the first half and they allowed France into the game with Terry Bouhraoua scoring in the 5th minute before Jean Pascal Barraque completed the comeback with a try to level the scores on the cusp of the half-time interval.
It was the South Africans again who controlled most of the second half and they were rewarded when star playmaker Cecil Afrika crashed over in the 12th minute to eventually hand over his team a 17-10 win and put a shine to his 50th tournament.
The Blitzbokke will play against Kenya (7.56am SA time) and Canada (11.56am SA time) tomorrow in their remaining Pool B matches.