BlitzBoks run opponents ragged in Edmonton
DAY ONE WRAP: While it was business as usual for Vancouver winners South Africa on the opening day of the Canada Sevens in Edmonton, Germany reminded everyone of the unpredictable nature of Sevens in reaching a Series Cup quarterfinal for the first time in history.
Having come so close to beating Ireland in the opening game of the day, Damian McGrath’s side stunned Great Britain 19-10 and can now look forward to a last-eight meeting with Kenya.
The free-scoring BlitzBoks, who beat Kenya in Vancouver to top the World Rugby Sevens Series standings, were joined by USA and Ireland in going through the pool stages unbeaten.
Neil Powell’s side were relentless at the Commonwealth Stadium, scoring 148 points and only conceding five, and look in good shape to win a second consecutive tournament and clinch the shortened Series title on Sunday.
The BlitzBoks silenced the noisy Commonwealth Stadium crowd as they signed off another impressive display of Sevens with a 49-0 win over Canada to finish top of Pool A ahead of the host team. Converted tries from Muller du Plessis, Zain Davids and Selvyn Davids – and injury replacement for last week’s hero Angelo Davids – put the BlitzBoks into a commanding 21-0 lead. Du Plessis went on to score a hat-trick as the one-way traffic continued with the BlitzBoks recording a 49-0 win.
With last week’s top try-scorer Angelo Davids missing through injury, the responsibility for putting points on the board was shared around by South Africa and there were 12 different try-scorers in their first two games.
Last week’s tournament winners began with a 56-0 win against Mexico – their biggest win on the Series since defeating Germany 70-0 in London in 2009 – and 43-5 against Hong Kong. Darren Adonis got a brace in the first and Muller du Plessis and Siviwe Soyizwapi crossed twice in the second, but the remainder of the Blitzboks’ nine tries were distributed evenly.
Canada had also made it safely through to the quarter-finals before the table-topping decider with the Blitzboks thanks to a hard-fought 21-12 win against Hong Kong and a less challenging encounter with Mexico, which ended with a record margin of victory on home soil of 47-0. Replacement Thomas Isherwood became only the fourth Canadian to score a Series hat-trick at a home tournament.
An earlier 40-19 win for Spain against Chile meant Hong Kong needed to beat Mexico by 43 points to take the spot in the quarter-finals reserved for the second-best third-place team, a task that did not prove beyond the Asian team and Los Leones missed out on points difference as a result.
Paul John’s team wasted no time in wiping out the points differential as they raced into a 42-0 half-time lead. The final scoreline of 70-0 included a first-half hat-trick from Max Denmark hat-trick, while Liam Herbert went on better with two in each half, to become the first Hong Kong player to cross the line four times in a Series match, as Hong Kong racked up 10 tries on their way to a 70-0 win against Mexico.
Kenya and USA had made it through to the last eight at the earliest possible opportunity with wins against Spain and Chile before meeting to decide the pool winner.
USA took command and went into half-time 12-0 up before Kenya came out firing to score two converted tries and lead 14-12. Martin Iosefo had been quiet up to that point but just when his team needed a big moment from a big player, the two-time Olympian came up with the matchwinner in the corner with around 30 seconds to go. It was sweet revenge for Mike Friday’s team who’d been beaten by the same 19-14 scoreline in last week’s Vancouver Cup quarter-final.
Earlier on, Kevin Williams, USA’s sole representative in the Vancouver Dream Team, continued his good form with a hat-trick and David Still, another notable performer last week, bagged a late brace as the Men’s Sevens Eagles recovered from 12-5 down to beat Spain 29-17 in their first match. USA were slow to warm to their task against Chile but 21 unanswered points in the second half saw them pull clear and win 33-5.
Vancouver runners-up Kenya had no trouble seeing off Chile, 33-5, with veteran Willy Ambaka rolling back the years with a brace, and then Spain were beaten 26-12, to set up the showdown against the Men’s Sevens Eagles.
For the second time in two weeks, it ended honours even in the pool stages between Ireland and Great Britain as both teams progressed through to the last eight. But whereas Ireland topped the pool as they did in Vancouver, a shock defeat to Germany meant Great Britain had to settle for a place in the quarter-finals as the best third-placed team.
Germany finished in second spot and it could have been even better for Damian McGrath’s side had they closed out a win against Ireland in the opening match of the day. Building on the momentum of a good showing in Vancouver, where they finished ninth, Germany led 17-12 and looked all set to claim victory in the first Series meeting between the sides. However, the Irish capitalised on a yellow card to Sam Rainger to score through Niall Comerford. Billy Dardis knocked over the conversion and Ireland had the win.
Max McFarland scored his second hat-trick in as many tournaments as Great Britain began with a big 48-0 win against Jamaica. It was a big improvement on their 24-5 win against the Crocs in Vancouver, but they came unstuck against Germany who registered only their third pool win in Series history thanks to tries from Marcel Coetzee and Anjo Buckman.
A brilliant chip and chase try from Shane Jennings was the standout feature of Ireland’s 38-7 win over Jamaica although Jordan Conroy’s closing score was also notable as it was Ireland’s 300th on the Series. Tries from Liam Turner and Conroy then saw Ireland come from behind twice against Great Britain, for whom McFarland was on the scoresheet again.
Source: World Rugby