South Africa shrugged off a 29-12 loss against Hong Kong champions Fiji to register pool victories over Spain and Portugal at the Tokyo Sevens rugby tournament on Saturday morning.
The two wins enabled the Springbok Sevens to secure a Cup quarterfinal clash with Samoa early on Sunday (live on SuperSport) after they clinched second spot in Pool A.
The Japanese tournament is round seven of the HSBC Sevens World Series, which consists of nine events worldwide.
Although South Africa managed to advance, coach Paul Treu was not entirely happy with their performances on the first day.
“In our first game we had lots of opportunities against Fiji and we didn’t take them. You won’t win games if you do not take your chances and it was the same against Portugal, despite the win. We did a bit better against Spain, but we must be more consistent,” said Treu.
Cecil Afrika and Steven Hunt were the try scorers against Fiji, who overturned a 0-5 deficit in the first to defeat South Africa 29-12. Hunt scored the opening try of the match and Afrika, sent on in the second half as a replacement, showed glimpses of his attacking qualities to score in his first match back from his injury lay-off.
Captain Frankie Horne and Cornal Hendricks were the try scorers for South Africa against the industrious Portugal who made the Springbok Sevens worked hard for their victory.
South Africa then needed to win their final pool match against Spain to confirm their progress to the Cup quarterfinals.
Blitzbokke wing Cornal Hendricks scored his 29th try of the season while Branco du Preez contributed 18 points in a comprehensive 42-5 win for Treu’s team. The Springbok Sevens scored six tries overall, with Hendricks, Du Preez (2), Hunt (2) and Seabelo Senatla all crossing over.
South Africa are currently fourth on the World Series standings behind New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa.