Home Sport Argentina edge Blitzboks into sixth spot at Singapore Sevens

Argentina edge Blitzboks into sixth spot at Singapore Sevens

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Despite an unbeaten run in their three pool matches, the Blitzboks went down 29-24 to Australia in the quarter-final on Saturday, before Sunday morning’s second successive close result against Argentina.

Tristan Leyds and Rosco Specman celebrate during a game at the SIngapore Sevens. Ppicture: SA Rugby

Argentina, playing for the HSBC SVNS league title, came back hard in the second half of their fifth-place play-off to edge the Springbok Sevens by 14-10 in the teams’ final clash in Singapore this weekend.

Despite an unbeaten run in their three pool matches, the Blitzboks unfortunately came unstuck in both their play-offs, going down by 29-24 to Australia in the quarter-final on Saturday – with their opponents clinching the victory with a golden try in extra time – before Sunday morning’s second successive close result against Argentina.

The Blitzboks led by 10-0 at the break after first-half tries by Tiaan Pretorius and Siviwe Soyizwapi, but both conversions were unsuccessful.

The Argentineans then came back with a spirited second-half display, scoring the match winning-try in the final minute to condemn the South Africans to a second consecutive sixth place finish at the end of the league phase of the season.

Blitzbok head coach Philip Snyman said they started their game against Argentina very well and stuck to the game plan.

“The first five minutes we were very clinical, showing that if we keep the ball, we can score tries,” said Snyman.

“But you can’t only play for five minutes and then try to defend your score, especially against a team like Argentina, who are the best team in the world at the moment. Once you have them on the ropes, you must put your foot on the pedal and stay in the system.”

Blitzbok captain Selvyn Davids agreed with his coach: “Sevens rugby is supposed to be played for 14 minutes, but we didn’t do that in our last three games and you can’t afford to do that against the quality teams on the circuit, and that is where we shot ourselves in the foot.

“We also left some points on the field and we will have to work on that, as we tend to get into good positions, but when we fail to convert.”

Snyman said they will need to look at their decision making and converting opportunities into points, while they also seemed to veer from the game plan when the pressure was on.

“It’s a concern as I believe we were good enough to play in the semi-final this weekend, but we can’t keep on thinking about things, it’s time to deliver now and we didn’t do that,” he said.

“Starting with me as coach and the management, we’ll take a hard look at ourselves, do some planning and try to get the players into good mental state for the rest of the season.

“We need to create pressure situations and ensure they come through it, because at the moment, when the pressure is on, we do things out of character and then results go against us.

“Yes, we topped our pool and we fought back well against France (on Saturday). Going into the playoffs our goal was to reach the semi-finals and we came so close to that, but we had three opportunities in extra time which we could not convert, and Australia got one chance and used it.

“We also had Argentina against the ropes, so while there are positives from the weekend, we now have to translate that into getting results.”

The Blitzboks finished in seventh position after a mid-season slump, but still have a lot to play for in the Grand Finale in Madrid later this month, before they will set their sights on qualifying for the Paris Olympic Games in Monaco next month.

As a result of their victory, the South Americans will finish at the top of the overall standings and were crowned league champions, with Ireland unable to catch Argentina on the log, despite reaching the Singapore final where they were edged by New Zealand.

Scorers:

South Africa 10 (10) – Tries: Siviwe Soyizwapi, Tiaan Pretorius.

Argentina 14 (0) – Tries: Agustin Fraga, Tobias Wade. Conversions: Wade (2).

SA Rugby

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