Blitzboks stumble over first hurdle at London Sevens

South Africa captain Siviwe Soyizwapi talks to the team after beating Fiji during Day 2 of the 2022 HSBC Cape Town Sevens held at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town

File. The Blitzboks started the London Sevens tournament with a 19-15 loss to Great Britain. Picture: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Published May 20, 2023


Cape Town - The Blitzboks started the London Sevens tournament with a 19-15 loss to Great Britain after failing to contain their opponents in the first half.

Although they fought back valiantly in the second half, a win in their first London match was a bridge too far as the home side built up a good lead at halftime, leaving South Africa to chase the game for the victory.

And when you chase the scoreboard in any rugby match, things tend to spiral if you do not get it right. This loss seriously hampers the Springbok Sevens' chances of qualifying for the quarter-final and their goal of winning the tournament to seal a spot among the top four to qualify automatically for the Olympic Games next year.

Great Britain started with two quick-fire tries after they controlled possession in the early stages of the match. They were patient with their play, passing the ball from side to side, looking for a mismatch in the defence.

Initially, the Blitzboks' defence held up nicely until the mismatch came and allowed the pacey Femi Sofolarin to run around the South African's defence to score.

An error at kickoff, with the Blitzboks failing to secure possession, led to the second try.

Captain Siviwe Soyizwapi's 150th World Series try brought some hope of a fightback in the first half, but a third try by team GB, the second in the game for Sofolarin, saw the halftime score stand at 19-5 in their favour.

A number of errors in the second half stifled a few Blitzboks attacks as they were pushing to get back into the game. Great Brittain also held them out with some solid defence.

Ryan Oosthuizen and Shaun Williams scored in quick succession after sustained pressure by South Africa close to the end of the game. They were pushing for the win but staged their fightback a little too late as the Great Britain defence held out to seal the game.

There were pockets of good play by coach Sandile Ngcobo's men, but they need to sharpen up defensively and use their opportunities if they want to win against the USA (3.15pm) and series leaders New Zealand (7.33pm) later on Saturday.

To keep their quarter-final fate in their hands, the Blitzboks will have to win the final two pool matches.


IOL Sport