Blitzboks secure safe passage to quarter-finals with gutsy win over the United States

South Africa’s Justin Geduld runs with the ball at the Cape Town Sevens

South Africa’s Justin Geduld runs with the ball at the Cape Town Sevens. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Dec 9, 2023


The Blitzboks secured safe passage to the quarter-final of the Cape Town SVNS after a nail-biting 26-14 win over the USA in their second pool match on Saturday afternoon.

A yellow card to ace playmaker Justin Geduld after a high tackle saw the USA come down from 0-14 to draw level with two quickfire tries, but when the replacements took the field in the second half, the home team gathered their wits and scored two more tries to claim a second win on the day.

Two early knock-ons hampered the South Africans as they attacked patiently looking for gaps in the USA defence. It took a while for the Springboks Sevens to get going but when they found their groove, two tries gave them a healthy lead at halftime.

The first try came off a good kick and follow-up from Impi Visser and Ryan Oosthuizen. Visser almost collected to score, but Oosthuizen made no mistake to dot down as the ball almost spilt over the deadball-line.

The second one was the best of the four after Selvyn Davids broke from his half, drew two defenders on the cover and slipped the ball on the inside to speedster Rosko Specman who jogged almost 50 meters to score under the sticks.

South Africa should’ve kicked on from the healthy lead, but Geduld’s high tackle and successive penalties gave the USA a sniff, and against six defenders they took their chances to level the game up for a tense ending.

But it was the grit of the Blitzboks, boosted by the rousing support next to the field, that secured the win as the substitutes came on and Impi Visser and Ronald Brown scored in quick succession to seal the game.

A pool decider against Ireland awaits the Blitzboks at 7:40 pm on Saturday and the winner will receive an easier draw for Sunday’s quarterfinal. Ireland is in red hot form and made it two from two with wins over the USA and Great Britain on Saturday.

“It’s two from two for us and that is what we wanted to achieve,” assistant coach Philip Snyman said afterward.

“We had a slow start with the windy conditions but managed to take control and put two good tries on the board. But we allowed them to get back into the game. We conceded a penalty after a perfect kickoff and they gained momentum. Then we conceded a yellow card, and they capitalised twice.

“We made life difficult for ourselves. The guys coming off the bench showed composure to seal the deal with the winning try at the end. Overall, we are very happy.

“But we need to realise as the tournament goes on, opportunities will become fewer. We must capitalise when we have teams on the ropes. We must knock them out.”

Earlier Saturday afternoon, the Springbok Women Seven’s had another disappointing outing as they went down 40-0 to Canada. It was a consecutive defeat for the South Africans who will face the USA at 4:40 pm on Saturday in their final pool match.

IOL Sport