Home Sport No Olympic boost for Blitzboks despite improvement in Hong Kong

No Olympic boost for Blitzboks despite improvement in Hong Kong

460

The Blitzboks could not boost their chances of automatic qualification for the Paris Olympics despite an improvement in their performance.

Kenya’s Edmond Anya evades the tackle of Tiaan Pretorius and Alvin Otieno at the Hong Kong Sevens.
Kenya’s Edmond Anya evades the tackle of Tiaan Pretorius and Alvin Otieno at the Hong Kong Sevens. Picture: Peter Parks, AFP

Cape Town – The Blitzboks performed better at the Hong Kong Sevens, but could not secure a podium finish in the Far East to boost their chances of automatic qualification for the Paris Olympics.

South Africa finished sixth after losing the fifth-place play-off against Argentina in a tight contest that ended 7-5 in a soaking Hong Kong Stadium. But despite not getting a medal, the team moved up two places on the World Sevens Series standings and sit in fifth place. They are still 11 points behind France in fourth.

They will need the French to drop points over the final three tournaments to be able to catch up to them. If that does not happen, automatic qualification for the 2024 Games could evade SA.

The rain in Hong Kong made handling tricky for the Blitzboks and Argentina in the first half. Both teams were probing on the attack, but errors and good defence kept them from scoring any points.

The Argentinians scored their converted try in the second half to go up before a Ricardo Duarttee five-pointer got the Blitzboks back into the game. But the missed conversion meant the lead stayed with the South Americans.

From the ensuing kick-off, clever play from Argentina where the ball was headed into touch meant they clinched fifth spot.

Earlier yesterday, the Blitzboks also managed to keep Fiji honest in the Cup quarter-final.

It was disappointing for coach Sandile Ngocbo’s side to go down 10-7, but the match showed the massive strides the team made ahead of Hong Kong after poor tournaments in North America a month ago.

The Fiji match was followed up by a drubbing of the USA with the Blitzboks winning 38-7 to play out for fifth place. The Singapore Sevens awaits this weekend and the Springbok Sevens will have to finish in the top four at least to stay in the hunt for automatic Olympic qualification.

New Zealand claimed the Hong Kong title after beating Fiji 24-17 in the final and stretched their lead atop the series log.

Selected Sunday results:

Springbok Sevens 7 — Try: Shaun Williams. Conversion: Ricardo Duarttee. Fiji 10 — Tries: Iowane Teba, Napolioni Bolaca.

Springbok Sevens 38 — Tries: Christie Grobbelaar (2), Tiaan Pretorius, Ethan James, Donovan Don, Sebastiaan Jobb. Conversions: Ricardo Duarttee (4). USA 7 — Try: Lucas Lacamp. Conversion: Steve Tomasin.

Springbok Sevens 5 — Try: Ricardo Duarttee. Argentina 5— Try: Joaquin Pellandini. Conversion: Pellandini.

@Leighton_K

Previous articleMarkram and Magala magic and Proteas take massive Pink ODI win over Dutch
Next articleNext Renault Duster set to be more rugged, and could spawn a Nissan bakkie