The Springbok Sevens team will play Uruguay in the quarterfinals of the World Games in Cali, Colombia on Friday after coming through pool play undefeated.
The South African side, competing as part of Team South Africa, outclassed hosts Colombia (43-0) and Hong Kong (31-7), before winning a tight pool decider against Canada (19-17).
Against Colombia, Seabelo Senatla (2), Jamba Ulengo, Werner Kok, Steven Hunt, Stephan Dippenaar and Ruwellyn Isbell scored tries.
Isbell got a brace against Hong Kong, with Richards, Dippenaar and Senatla also dotting down.
Their final match of the day against Canada at a surprisingly well-attended Pascual Guerrero Stadium was the closest, as expected, but they came through 19-17 after leading 12-7 at halftime.
Tries by Bernardo Botha, Werner Kok and Kyle Brown were supplemented by two conversions from Mark Richards.
“We had a good challenge against Canada. They really brought it, but it is good to have a challenge like this on day one to prepare us for what is waiting on day two,” team captain Kyle Brown said afterwards.
Team coach Vuyo Zangqa was also pleased on day one’s effort.
“I’m pretty happy with the way things went. The first match is always a bit of a feeler but we started putting it together in the second half. We could see the improvement coming through against Hong Kong. It was a bit tight in the first half as we started putting things into practice from earlier and then the second half was a whole lot better.”
South Africa will play Uruguay at 18h00 (SA time) in the first of the quarterfinals.
Should they progress to the semifinals, they will play the winner of the match between France and Hong Kong at 21h30 (SA time).
Argentina plays Colombia and Brazil plays Canada in the other quarterfinal matches.