Yellow cards hurt Blitzboks at Madrid Sevens

Quewin Nortjé scored two tries in a losing cause for the Blitzboks against New Zealand yesterday. Photo: BackpagePix

Quewin Nortjé scored two tries in a losing cause for the Blitzboks against New Zealand yesterday. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Jun 2, 2024


IT WAS a day to forget for the Blitzboks at the Madrid Sevens yesterday as they lost both matches to be knocked out of the cup competition.

That means the Springbok Sevens team will have to be satisfied with competing in the fifth-place semi-finals today in the final event of what has been a disappointing HSBC SVNS season, having gone down 26-21 to Ireland on Friday.

In the first match yesterday against New Zealand, the Blitzboks actually survived conceding three yellow cards in the first half – Tiaan Pretorius, Impi Visser and Tristan Leyds, all due to dangerous tackles – to trail by just 14-10 at the break.

Christie Grobbelaar and Quewin Nortjé scored in the opening stanza to keep the South Africans in the game, and almost unbelievably, captain Selvyn Davids dotted down – following a Grobbelaar line-break – to put the Blitzboks 17-10 ahead.

But the Kiwis hit back with a penalty try to level matters at 17-17, followed by Leroy Carter’s first try and an Andrew Knewstubb conversion to put his team 24-17 in front.

Despite Nortjé scoring a second touchdown and Leyds converting to make it all square at 24-24, New Zealand finished off the Blitzboks as Moses Leo and Carter crossed the whitewash.

South Africa’s interim head coach Philip Snyman would have hoped that his players could complete the day with a victory over Fiji, but it was not to be.

A tired-looking Blitzboks’ defence let them down as the Fijians burst through to score through Jerry Tuwai and Waisea Nacuqu to set up an early 14-0 lead.

That was soon 21-0 as Tira Wilagi grabbed the third try before halftime, and it looked like the South Africans were going to concede a big score.

But they added respectability to the scoreboard in the second half as veteran speedster Rosko Specman scored towards the end.

Apart from the final day’s action today, Snyman will have his work cut out now to get a formidable Blitzboks squad together for what amounts to their final chance to qualify for the Olympics later this month.

The South Africans will travel to Monaco for the repechage tournament from June 21-23, where they have been drawn in Pool A with Chile, Tonga and Mexico.

Pool B will be made up of Great Britain, Canada, Uganda and China, and Pool C comprises Spain, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea and Brazil.


South Africa 24 – Tries: Christie Grobbelaar, Quewin Nortjé (2), Selvyn Davids. Conversions: Justin Geduld (1), Tristan Leyds (1).

New Zealand 33 – Tries: Dylan Collier, Penalty Try, Leroy Carter (2), Moses Leo. Conversions: Andrew Knewstubb (2), Akuila Rokolisoa (1).

South Africa 7 – Try: Rosko Specman. Conversion: Tristan Leyds (1).

Fiji 26 – Tries: Jerry Tuwai, Waisea Nacuqu, Tira Wilagi, Viwa Naduvalo. Conversions: Nacuqu (3).