Bumbling BlitzBoks crash out of World Cup Sevens
DAY TWO WRAP: The BlitzBoks are out of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town after they suffered a 14-24 defeat to Ireland in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
It means the South Africans will face Argentina on Sunday in the Championship Cup fifth-place semifinal, while Ireland will join New Zealand, Fiji and Australia in the Championship semifinals.
Where the BlitzBoks were full of enterprise with the ball in hand on Friday, the lack of possession against Ireland cost them dearly.
Despite making a hash of the kick-off, Ireland drew first blood after turning over possession in their own 22, working their way upfield and with the BlitzBoks running out of defenders, Mark Roche went over next to the uprights. He also added the conversion to silence the big crowd after two minutes.
There was more drama for the South African supporters when Ireland looked to have scored a minute later, but the TMO judged that a South African defender was played without the ball.
Working their way back up the field, the BlitzBoks looked to grow in confidence, only to squander a few opportunities through over-eagerness – first a wild pass by Ronald Brown into touch, then Muller du Plessis conceding a penalty while hot on the attack.
The duo righted their errors though, when JC Pretorius pounced on a lost Irish line-out, the ball went wide to Brown who put Du Plessis over. Brown’s conversion levelled the scores at 7-7 going into the break.
Two minutes into the second half, Ireland struck again when the BlitzBoks lost a line-out in their own 22 and Harry McNulty capitalized, and the dust had hardly settled before the Irish were in for a third try with Jordan Conroy after a pass by the South Africans went astray.
Ireland then sealed the victory with Conroy’s second try as the host nation failed to get their hands on the ball at all during the second half, which ended up ruling them out of contention.
The final say belonged to the Blitzboks when Mfundo Ndhlovu went over after the hooter, but unfortunately for the throngs of South African supporters – and for head coach Neil Powell – it was too little, too late.
See all Day Two’s results below
What a performance from @IrishRugby!ADVERTISEMENT
— Rugby World Cup 7s 2022 (@WorldRugby7s) September 10, 2022
A New Zealand challenge
Ireland’s reward is a mouth-watering semifinal against New Zealand on Sunday, after the All Blacks earned a battling win over Argentina to reach the final four.
World Rugby Sevens Series champions Australia edged past France to book a place in the final four where they will face Fiji, who overcame fellow Pacific Islanders Samoa.
New Zealand faced a threat to their long RWC Sevens winning run against Argentina, but they managed to come out 12-5 winners from a tense battle and stretch that streak to 12 games.
German Schulz profited from a super Matias Osadczuk offload to go over in the corner for the Pumas, but Scott Curry struck back for the NZ before half-time.
It was far from a perfect performance from the Kiwis, but the match was lit up by a moment of brilliance when Moses Leo burst through a tackle to sprint half the pitch and dive over the tryline.
There was a moment of concern when the referee had to be replaced after taking a knock in an accidental collision, and Argentina were banging on the door late on but couldn’t take advantage as they knocked on with the final play.
In Australia’s clash with France, neither side budged in a physical first half that saw Jean Pascal Barraque earn a yellow card.
Les Bleus survived the power play period without conceding, but Henry Paterson eventually went over the tryline to break the deadlock with the final play.
France immediately struck back after the restart with a stunning team move of interweaving passing and movement finished off by Paulin Riva, but Maurice Longbottom soon punctured the Bleus defence to put the Aussies firmly in control.
Olympic gold medallists Fiji knocked out Samoa to reach the final four, recovering from conceding an early Steve Onosai try to win 21-10.
Jerry Tuwai, Kaminieli Rasaku and Sevuloni Mocenacagi crossed the whitewash for clinical Fiji, before Onosai bagged a consolation second late on to take his personal RWC Sevens 2022 tally to five tries.
DAY THREE SCHEDULE
The final day of RWC Sevens action kicks off at 08.30 local time (GMT+2)with men’s placement matches, which continue until the Bowl final between Germany and Uganda at 09:36.
Championship placement matches in both men’s and women’s events follow until the semi-finals kick off.
The women are up first with New Zealand v France at 12:07, and Australia then face USA at 13.05.
The men’s Championship semi-finals are intertwined with the women’s: Ireland face New Zealand at 12:35 and Australia are up against Fiji at 13.33.
Challenge placement matches are next up, before the two finals in the second-tier event: Poland v Japan for the women’s trophy at 15.21 and Uruguay v England for the men at 17.04.
The placements from five-eight will be decided next, before two Bronze finals, the women at 19.01 and men at 19.25.
Finally, the action concludes with the showpiece Championship finals.
The women’s final is at 20.17, followed by the men’s final at 20.54.
Day Two Results:
Portugal 14-21 Germany
Zimbabwe 0-28 Hong Kong
Uganda 12-0 Korea
Jamaica 0-17 Tonga
England 35-0 Chile
Canada 12-19 Uruguay
USA 33-5 Wales
Scotland 5-24 Kenya
Bowl 21/24 place:
Portugal 31-7 Jamaica
Zimbabwe 19-21 Korea
Germany 17-12 Tonga
Hong Kong 5-14 Uganda
Challenge 13/16 place:
Chile 24-21 Scotland
Canada 33-19 Wales
Uruguay 21-19 USA
England 36-0 Kenya
New Zealand 12-5 Argentina
France 5-14 Australia
Samoa 10-21 Fiji
Ireland 24-14 South Africa
Madagascar 0-12 Spain
Colombia 0-33 Brazil
South Africa 12-14 Japan
Poland 20-14 China
Challenge 13/16 place:
Madagascar 5-36 China
Colombia 0-27 South Africa
Spain 10-19 Poland
Brazil 10-19 Japan
Australia 35-5 England
New Zealand 28-0 Ireland
France 19-14 Fiji
USA 10-7 Canada
Additional source: World Rugby