Ruhan Nel was prominent on attack and defence for the Blitzboks against Samoa. Photo: Chris Ricco, BackpagePix

The Blitzboks have come back from a demoralising first-round defeat on day one to advance through to the Paris Sevens Cup semi-finals on Sunday.

Neil Powell’s team combined thrilling attacking play with courageous defence to outlast the hard-running Samoans 12-0 in the quarter-final on Sunday morning at the Stade Jean Bouin.

The South Africans will take on New Zealand in the semi-final at 2.40pm after the Kiwis beat France 14-0 in their quarter-final. The other semi-final sees England facing Scotland, who shocked South Africa on Saturday.

A place in the Cup final would see the Blitzboks clinch the World Sevens Series title for the first time since 2009, having ended second in five out of the last six seasons.

In the clash against Samoa, both teams carried the ball strongly, but were unable to breach the defences for most of the first half.

But just before halftime, after relentless pressure by the Springbok Sevens, star playmaker Cecil Afrika forced his way over to set up a 5-0 lead.

Branco du Preez missed the conversion almost from in front, but it didn’t prove costly in the end.

Then the moment of the game came a minute later. Chris Dry burst through the Samoan defence, Afrika kept the ball alive and Ruhan Nel nearly went all the way as well.

But then former World Sevens Player of the Year Werner Kok shrugged off two defenders and put on the dancing shoes to slam the ball down for a superb five-pointer.

This time Du Preez slotted the angled conversion to give the Blitzboks a 12-0 halftime lead, and they never relinquished their advantage.

Samoa were dominant in the second half, but the South Africans showed great organisation and commitment in defence. The highlight in that regard was Nel’s incredible tackle in cover defence to stop a certain Samoan try.


Blitzboks – Tries: Cecil Afrika, Werner Kok. Conversion: Branco du Preez (1).

Paris Sevens Semi-Finals

2.18pm: England v Scotland

2.40pm: South Africa v New Zealand


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