Branco du Preez helped the Blitzboks to an opening win against Wales in Paris. Photo:

The Blitzboks got their weekend in Paris off to a fine start by beating Wales 22-7 in their opener on Day One of the final event of the 2018/19 World Sevens Series.

The South Africans went into the tournament on a mission after finishing joint-seventh in London, and while it was a disappointing end, they locked down the fourth position on the standings to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. 

In the Blitzboks' first pool game in France, Wales had all the say in terms of possession in the first half, as the Springbok Sevens side had almost no possession in the first six minutes of the game.

But it was the Blitzboks' top defensive effort in the first half and the way they shone on attack in the second that helped them ace their first test at Stade Jean-Bouin.

The defending World Sevens Series champions took the lead at half-time after wing Muller du Plessis spotted space and kicked the ball in behind the Welsh defence, before gathering it himself to open the scoring.

SA Sevens' all-time highest points-scorer Cecil Afrika made his return to the circuit after a year on the sidelines a solid one, and he scored a beaut of a try to add to that (12-0).

Branco du Preez  playing in his 71st tournament  added his name to the scoresheet in the French capital after a botched Wales lineout (17-0),before Wales' Joe Goodchild scored an intercept try for the 14th-placed team (17-7). Not much about their play in that game, however, would suggest such a standing.

The Blitzboks had the last word after some quality work by the inside backs allowed Mfundo Ndhlovo a try-scoring shot and ended the game with a proper 22-7 win.

South Africa next face Kenya at 3.10pm.

@WynonaLouw


IOL Sport

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