Blitzboks defence stands strong to hold off Kenya and qualify for quarter-finals.
The Blitzboks will head into their final pool game against the USA high in confidence after clinching a hard-fought victory over Kenya to make it two wins from two on day one of the Olympic Sevens on Monday.
South Africa should feel pleased with their results on the first day of the tournament. After beginning their Olympic campaign with a 33-14 win over Ireland, they went on to claim a 14-5 victory over Kenya in the last game. The Springbok Sevens team will now round off their pool fixtures in an enticing clash with the USA at 04:30am on Tuesday morning South African time.
That said, they should know that there is room for improvement. The Blitzboks dominated their opponents at the collisions across the two matches. But there were several instances where passes didn’t go to hand and defenders slipped off tackles, though, while the South Africans’ discipline – or lack thereof – were also a cause for concern, especially against the Kenyans.
As is always the case when these African sides meet, physicality was at the forefront of the fixture. But the game was won by South Africa’s resolute defence in the second half when they repelled several Kenyan attacks with masterful turnovers on the ground.
The Blitzboks opened the scoring through Selvyn Davids, when the playmaker took a quick tap, walked, then accelerated and broke through the defensive line, selling a dummy to Willy Amabaka in the process, to score the opening try.
Captain Siviwe Soyizwapi’s finishing was a highlight. The wing scored a well-executed try when he fielded a cross-kick, brushed off three tackles and showed great presence of mind to avoid the touchline to score what proved to be the all-important try.
Veteran Collins Injera got his team back in the contest just before the break, and while they created ample opportunities in the second half, Kenya just couldn’t turn their dominance into points in the face of fierce defence.
Despite the result, there will be cause for concern for Neil Powell’s team after Zain Davids went down injured just before the break.
Meanwhile Great Britain's men are in the Olympic rugby sevens quarter-finals after pool wins against Canada and Japan.
Great Britain beat Canada 24-0 before a 34-0 victory against Japan.
Their quarter-finals place was secured when defending champions Fiji - who are also through to the knockout stages - beat Canada 28-14 later on Monday.
Rio silver medallists Great Britain face Fiji - whose victory four years ago was their country's first ever Olympic medal - at 01:30 BST on Tuesday in their final pool game, with the quarter-finals beginning at 09:30 BST.