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Blitzboks through to the Commonwealth quarterfinals

Springbok Sevens Angelo Davids has scored three tries at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Springbok Sevens Angelo Davids has scored three tries at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Image: David Van Der Sandt/Gallo Images

The Springbok Sevens have qualified for the Commonwealth Games quarterfinals after they beat Tonga (36-5) and Malaysia (46-0) in their two Pool B games in Birmingham on Friday.

The SA men were in control for most of their two games on Friday and did exactly what was needed to progress to the knockout phase of the competition, scoring 14 tries in total on the opening day.

Their defensive systems were also tested, but the Blitzboks conceded only one try.

SA head coach Neil Powell said: “We had a slow start in the first game against Malaysia, and we asked the guys to make a step-up against Tonga, especially in terms of physicality, and I think they did that really well.

“Unfortunately, we conceded the one try, which was disappointing because we pride ourselves on our defence, but I think it was a massive step-up from the first game, and hopefully we can improve on that when we play Scotland tomorrow.

“The last time we played Scotland, we lost and hopefully we learnt something from that experience. For us to top our pool, we thought it was probably going to come down to this game, so we already had a look at them and hopefully the guys will be up for it tomorrow.”

In their first match against Tonga since 2019, SA had the perfect start, with team captain Siviwe Soyizwapi going over after just 21 seconds after a deft kick by Muller du Plessis. Christie Grobbelaar added two more first-half tries, while Tonga hit back with a five-pointer on the stroke of halftime to hand SA a 17-5 lead at the break.

JC Pretorius and Sako Makata added tries in the first three minutes of the second half to stretch SA’s lead to 29-5, but they then lost Mfundo Ndhlovu to a dangerous tackle by Tonga’s John Ika, who was red-carded.

After Ndhlovu was stretchered off the field, Dewald Human had the final say with a try, which he converted himself to seal the deal for SA.

“We would have loved to get Mfundo onto the park a bit more as he recently returned from a serious injury, but it looks like he took a bad shot to his jaw, and he will probably be out for the rest of the tournament, though we’ve not seen the final medical assessment yet,” added Powell.

Soyizwapi said: “We are happy with the results, but we will have to take a look at both games as we made a few errors and it wasn’t the clinical performance we were looking for. but it was a good day and we have something to build on with a lot of positives.”

Their final pool game is at 1.18pm on Saturday against Scotland.

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