Blitzboks get narrow opening win in Dubai
It wasn't easy, but the Blitzboks' got the opening leg of the 2019/2020 World Sevens Series off to a winning start with a 17-12 win over Kenya.
The Dubai leg of the Series is always a tough one as teams don't have a real idea of where their opposition's at. It's the first tournament of the new season, after all.
The Blitzboks played in three warm-up tournaments ahead of the Series kick-off, and as with a lot of teams, there will be a big focus on building momentum and player management as the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics begins.
While it was far from perfect, coach Neil Powell will be pleased with the composure his outfit showed to come back from a 12-5 half-time deficit.
The contribution that some of the experienced returnees made was also a positive.
The Blitzboks were first on the scoreboard after a skip pass from veteran Chris Dry found Ryan Oosthuizen out wide, who dashed over the whitewash to get five on the board.
The Kenyans then scored two quick tries by Alvin Otieno and Vincent Onyala, with the second one particularly impressive as it came from a kick-pass in midfield, before Onyala brilliantly gathered the leather oval inches from touch to finish (12-5).
Rosko Specman reintroduced himself to the circuit in stunning fashion in the second half as he stepped and swerved his way to the posts, drawing the Blitzboks level with their fellow Africans on 12-all.
South Africa Sevens' all-time leading try-scorer Seabelo Senatla ran in the Blitzboks' third after he picked the ball up at the base of the ruck and sniped down the blindside to dot down, putting them in the lead at 17-12 and securing the game.
The Blitzboks today face Spain (11.48am, SA time) and England (5:54pm).
The SA Rugby Sevens Academy also got off to a top start at the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens International Invitational tournament, held at the same at the same stadium, easily winning both their matches.
The side, featuring a number of experienced Blitzboks, outperformed the Rambling Jesters 40-0 and thumped the French Military 22-0 on the first day of their tournament, scoring 10 tries without conceding a single point.
They face Russia in their final pool game before the play-offs later today.
Results from Day One:
Samoa 19 - 12 Canada
New Zealand 36 - 7 Wales
Australia 43 - 14 Scotland
USA 24 - 19 Ireland
France 12 - 10 Argentina
Fiji 24 - 17 Japan
England 36 - 7 Spain@WynonaLouw