Blitzboks didn’t play 100% to potential, says Zain Davids as Hong Kong Sevens bogey continues

“We can still finish strong in the tournament and redeem ourselves,” Blitzboks stand-in captain Zain Davids said after the defeat to Australia on Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix

“We can still finish strong in the tournament and redeem ourselves,” Blitzboks stand-in captain Zain Davids said after the defeat to Australia on Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Apr 6, 2024


The Blitzboks’ Hong Kong Sevens bogey continued on Saturday as they were knocked out 15-0 by Australia in the cup quarter-final.

The South Africans have never won the tournament, and last made the semi-finals in 2018.

But after a superb pool stage, where they beat Ireland (22-17) and Spain (24-10) on Friday and Samoa (26-7) early on Saturday, it all came unstuck in the playoff.

— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) April 6, 2024

Interim coach Philip Snyman had a tough task in compiling a team for the Australian clash as three key figures were unable to feature.

Speedster Ronald Brown was out injured, and star captain Selvyn Davids and the experienced Justin Geduld were both suspended due to high tackles against Samoa and Ireland respectively.

That meant the Blitzboks only had 10 players available, and the gulf in class showed as the streetwise Australians pounced on the depleted South Africans.

The Blitzboks will complete their tournament on Sunday in the fifth-place playoff against Fiji (9am SA time).

“We trained hard back home in Stellenbosch and have scenarios like this worked into the sessions,” Blitzboks stand-in captain Zain Davids said after the Australian game.

“We were just not good enough in this match, and that is very disappointing. We did not play 100 percent to our potential – that was our problem, not the numbers.”

“We can still finish strong in the tournament and redeem ourselves.

“We had a good chat in the huddle now, and everyone accepted that we did not play according to our standards – and that the match against Fiji gives us a chance to rectify that. So, we will come out stronger tomorrow.”

Key playmaker Maurice Longbottom was the star of the show for Australia, grabbing a try, conversion and a rare penalty to score 10 of his team’s points, with Nathan Lawson adding a touchdown.

It was Longbottom who sparked the early attack for the Aussies with a burst up the middle, and despite a fine tackle by SA speedster Quewin Nortjé on James Turner, a quick tap penalty saw Lawson scoring the opening try.

The Blitzboks had few opportunities inside the opposition half, but were unable to convert their pressure into points as first Nortjé was brought down in the 22 and conceded a breakdown penalty, and then Dewald Human’s chip into the red zone was easily cleared by the defence.

SA were still in the mix at 5-0 down at halftime, but again battled to find their rhythm with ball-in-hand. Darren Adonis crabbed across to the left, but his inside pass didn’t go to hand for Shilton van Wyk.

The Blitzboks fumbled the ball all the way back into their 22, and it was Lawson’s breakdown penalty that resulted in Longbottom easing over to make it 12-0 to Australia after nine minutes.

SA suffered another injury as Shaun Williams had to leave the field, and then Longbottom took the game out of reach at 15-0 with a well-struck penalty from about 30 metres out.

— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) April 6, 2024

The Springbok Women Sevens side also went down to Australia in a 28-0 defeat on Saturday, and then lost 15-14 to Great Britain in the ninth-place semi-final – with Ayanda Malinga and Nadine Roos grabbing the two SA tries.

Blitzboks Points-Scorers

South Africa 0

Australia 15 – Tries: Nathan Lawson, Maurice Longbottom. Conversions: Longbottom (1). Penalty: Longbottom (1)

South Africa 26 – Tries: Shilton van Wyk, Quewin Nortjé, Impi Visser, Shaun Williams. Conversions: Dewald Human (3).

Samoa 7 – Try: Uaina Tui Sione. Conversion: Des Sepulona Faoa (1).