It wasn’t easy, but the Blitzboks’ got the opening leg of the 2019-20 World Sevens Series off to a winning start.
It wasn’t easy, but the Blitzboks’ got the opening leg of the 2019-20 World Sevens Series off to a winning start with a 17-12 win over Kenya yesterday.
The Dubai leg of the series is always a tough one as teams don’t have a real idea of where their opponents are at. It’s the first tournament of the new season, after all.
The Blitzboks played in three warm-up tournaments ahead of the series kick-off, and as with a lot of teams, there will be a big focus on building momentum and player management as the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics begins.
While it was far from perfect, coach Neil Powell will be pleased with the composure his outfit showed to come back from a 12-5 halftime deficit.
The contribution that some of the experienced players who returned to the team made was also a positive.
The Blitzboks were first on the scoreboard after a skip pass from veteran Chris Dry found Ryan Oosthuizen out wide, who dashed over the whitewash to get five points onto the scoreboard.
The Kenyans then scored two quick tries by Alvin Otieno and Vincent Onyala, with the second one particularly impressive as it came from a kick-pass in midfield, before Onyala brilliantly gathered the leather oval inches from touch to finish (12-5).
Rosko Specman reintroduced himself to the Sevens circuit in stunning fashion in the second half as he stepped and swerved his way to the posts, drawing the Blitzboks level with their fellow Africans on 12-all.
The Blitzboks’ all-time leading try-scorer Seabelo Senatla ran in the SA Sevens team’s third try after he picked the ball up at the base of a ruck and sniped down the blindside to dot down, putting them in the lead at 17-12 and securing the game.
The Blitzboks today face Spain (11.48am) and England (5:54pm).
The SA Rugby Sevens Academy also got off to a top start in the Dubai Sevens International Invitational tournament, also held at the Sevens Stadium, easily winning both of their matches.
The team, featuring a number of experienced Blitzboks, outperformed the Rambling Jesters 40-0 and thumped the French Military 22-0 on the first day of their tournament, scoring 10 tries without conceding a single point.
They next face Russia in their final pool game before the playoffs later today.
Results from day one
at the Dubai Sevens:
Samoa 19 – 12 Canada
New Zealand 36 – 7 Wales
Australia 43 – 14 Scotland
USA 24 – 19 Ireland
France 12 – 10 Argentina
Fiji 24 – 17 Japan
England 36 – 7 Spain