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Blitzboks go undefeated, but Springbok Women slump on opening day of Perth SVNS

Blitzboks go undefeated, but Springbok Women slump on opening day of Perth SVNS
Blitzbok captain Selvyn Davids runs the ball during the 2024 Perth SVNS men’s match between South Africa and Spain at HBF Park in Perth, Australia, on 26 January 2024. (Photo: Will Russell / Getty Images)

The Springbok Sevens are on track for a spot in the Perth SVNS quarterfinals after an impressive opening day, while Springbok Women’s Sevens team stumble against Australia and Canada

The Blitzboks made it two from two on the opening day of the Perth Sevens on Friday, while the Springbok Women’s Sevens were felled in both their matches on day one.

South Africa opened the day’s play in Perth with a comfortable 24-7 win over Canada, before surviving a scare from Spain to claim a 21-14 victory later in the day.

The undefeated first day all but guaranteed the Springbok Sevens a spot in the quarterfinals tomorrow.

They will next face SVNS log leaders, Argentina, in their final pool match on Saturday at 6.38am (SA time).

The opening match against Canada marked a special occasion for former Cheetahs centre David Brits and Stormers outside back Tristan Leyds – the brother of Dillyn Leyds, who has been capped 10 times at Test level.

They both made their Sevens debut for the national team with Leyds capping off the occasion with a try.

Captain Selvyn Davids was the bright spark for the Blitzboks on day one, as he scored three tries – two against Canada and another against Spain.

Against Canada, Davids scored from a counterattack after a good opening spell by the men in red. They held the ball for more than a minute, but conceded a turnover and the Blitzbok talisman dummied his way from the halfway line to score.

Canada took the lead shortly after, following a poor clearance kick from the Blitzboks as their defence was found wanting. A successful conversion gave Canada a 7-5 lead.

That was wiped out by Quewin Nortje, who stepped inside two defenders to score for a 10-7 lead at the break.

Davids, who instigated the Nortje try with a delightful foot pass, opened the scoring in the second half after the winger won a good turnover.

Leyds scored shortly after he took the field two minutes from time, his try pushing the Blitzboks into a comfortable margin.

Ronald Brown of South Africa

Ronald Brown of South Africa with the ball during the 2024 Perth SVNS men’s match against Spain  in Perth, Australia, on 26 January 2024 . (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Spanish scare

After an early yellow card to forward bruiser Zain Davids, Spain took a surprise early lead against the Blitzboks.

But South Africa grew into the game and overcame the Spanish side, again thanks to the ingenuity of their captain.

“It’s a good start,” Davids said of the opening day’s action. “We didn’t play our best rugby the last game but we knew Spain was going to come out… there’s no easy games on the circuit.”

“I’d like to praise Spain, they really came out and gave us a hard time.”

Australia is a happy hunting ground for the Blitzboks, having made four of the last five finals held in the country.

“We knew it was going to be tough Down Under. The jetlag is a bit rough on us but this tour [is labelled] the ‘no excuses tour’ and that’s something that’s helped us in the past — no excuses,” Davids added.

“We’re just here to play for each other, play for the nation and play for the badge.”

Springbok Women stumble

The Springbok Women’s Sevens team continue to look good in patches but not for long enough to clinch victories on the circuit yet.

In their opening match in Perth, the Springbok Women’s Sevens were comprehensively outplayed by SVNS table-toppers and hosts Australia 31-0.

In their next pool match against Canada, they were parked on the North American side’s tryline for extended periods of the match but only came away with one try, losing 26-7.

South Africa’s final group stage match is against Great Britain at 5.32am (South African time). Team GB are on a high after shocking hosts Australia, playing with six players for most of the match, 19-12. DM

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