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Boks call for strong refereeing ahead of World Cup opener

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South Africa’s assistant Coach Mzwandile Stick is hoping for a strong performance by the match officials when they take on New Zealand in their Rugby World Cup opener in Yokohama on Saturday.

The Boks have previously felt they have not always got the rub of the green from the officials in clashes with the world champions, especially in areas such as the breakdown and scrum.

With only two points separating the sides on aggregate in their last four matches, it suggests fine margins could decide the Pool B opener.

“Hopefully the match officials will respect the game because if you look at the way things are between us and New Zealand, I think we’re more balanced now,” Stick told reporters on Monday.

“If you look at the previous history when you look at the All Blacks, they’ve been dominating. When they go to the World Cup, sometimes they become favourites. We are at an equal level at the moment.

“Hopefully the match officials will also respect this game. Things are a lot more balanced between us and New Zealand right now.”

Stick said there was no out-and-out favourite to lift the trophy this time, saying any of the teams at the top of the world rankings — Ireland, New Zealand, England, South Africa and Wales — could lift the Webb Ellis Cup.

“If you look at the top five teams at the moment, each one of them has a good chance to win this World Cup,” he said.

“If you look at the recent results, even in the northern hemisphere, where Wales beat and lost to England, it’s been very close. It’s been a proper build-up to this World Cup.

“Hopefully the officials will treat every team equally, and respect the games and the fans.”

Stick believes the Boks could not have done much more in the build-up to their tournament opener as they enter the World Cup unbeaten in 2019 and as Rugby Championship holders.

“We’ve done a lot of hard work as a team and as a coaching staff. I feel that we’re all aligned and I don’t think we could have asked for a better build-up to the World Cup.”

They also face Italy, Namibia and Canada in their pool. (Reuters/)
ERO/PDE

(Edited by Emmanuel Okara/Peter Ejiofor)

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Springboks’ Kolbe would prefer to face the Lions than go to Olympics

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South Africa’s Rugby World Cup hero, Cheslin Kolbe, has said he would rather play against the British & Irish Lions next year and forego the chance to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.

The winger, whose efforts in the closing stages of last year’s World Cup final in Japan sealed success against England, will likely have a difficult choice in 2021 when the re-arranged Tokyo Games clash with the Lions tour of South Africa.

Kolbe, 26, would stand a strong chance of selection for the South African ‘Blitzbokke’ — the rugby sevens side, which will be among the gold medal favourites in Japan.

He had previously said he would like to be selected but now that there is a date clash, he has made clear his preference.

“It’s a tough decision but I would definitely choose taking on the British and Irish Lions,” he told the website Planet Rugby in an interview.

“Although I would love to play sevens for my country at the Tokyo Olympics, to be part of a Lions series is a goal I really want to achieve, and I would like to be a part of that because it only happens every 12 years.

“Next year would be my only chance to face them if I do get selected (for the Springboks), as I won’t be around for their next tour, so I would definitely go for that option,” he said.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/ (NAN)

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Substance before style for the Blitzboks’ engine room

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The Blitzboks are many things to many people – some love the comfortable integration by the team and others laud their high performance ability which sees them consistently rank in the top two sevens teams of the world.

Generally, the Springbok Sevens are liked for being a true example of the potential of South Africans working together towards a common goal.

They have their superstars, with no less than three former World Rugby Sevens Players of the Year amongst them, as well as record points scorers, but also – as with any successful team – an engine room where the focus is on delivering the goods and laying a foundation for the stars to shine.

Find amongst those the quiet, unassuming figure of Ryan Oosthuizen who loves nothing more than getting the work done without frills or fancy stuff. The lanky 24-year-old is a double HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champion and come round five of the 2020 series, will be chomping at the bit to contribute towards a potential third gold medal.

Oosthuizen missed out on the previous two tournaments in Hamilton and Sydney as part of the rotational policy set out by Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell as part of his planning for the Olympic Games, but the part-time law student looks set to hit 100 matches and 100 points in Los Angeles this weekend.

“It is another opportunity to contribute to a team that means so much to me,” Oosthuizen said as the Blitzboks fine-tuned their preparations for the HSBC LA Sevens to be played at Dignity Health Sports Park this weekend.

“Nothing makes you realise how special it is to play for the Blitzboks than having to watch them play on television or from the sidelines. It is such a privilege and honour to play for such a team with so many great players.”

Oosthuizen was barely out of school at Paarl Gymnasium when the 2016 Rio Olympics came around. At that stage, he was plugging away as an outside centre for the DHL Western Province age group teams, but come Tokyo 2020, he will be hoping to live his dream in Japan.

“Coach Neil planned to give everyone a fair opportunity to stake a claim for the Olympics,” he said.

“I play in a pretty competitive position, with guys such as Kwagga Smith and JC Pretorius also around, so I need to make sure I make it as hard as possible for the coach not to select me.

“The fact that the Hong Kong and Singapore tournaments have been postponed until after the Olympics has limited the opportunities to impress even more, so this weekend will be an important one for me.”

Oosthuizen is one of the best examples of the slogan “there is no I in team” and his contribution will be to “trust the system and process” rather than running 80 meters to score.

“We play best when everyone contributes and you trust the guy next to you,” said Oosthuizen.

“There was a slight hiccup in Hamilton and that resulted in a bad slip-up (the Blitzboks finished 9th). The guys bounced back nicely in Sydney and now we have another opportunity to continue with that here in Los Angeles.”

Oosthuizen's views are backed up by Impi Visser, another of the engine room variety. For Visser, the work done back in camp in Stellenbosch, was crucial to expected results in Los Angeles.

“We are very privileged to be in a position where you can play for your country and experience new places, people and cultures like we do here at this new tournament venue, but the hard work is done at home. We prepared well in Stellenbosch and I believe it will lay a good foundation,” said Visser.

Visser made his debut last season and played in all ten tournaments. He missed out at Dubai last year and was the official reserve in Cape Town, where he played in the final against New Zealand. Adding the final in Sydney, it makes solid reading for the qualified mechanical engineer, with two finals in three tournaments.

“I am really looking forward to the weekend,” added Visser.

“We prepared well back home and it is another opportunity to go and express and enjoy ourselves. I will focus on my responsibilities, but also to enjoy myself. The enjoyment factor of playing this game is important, but it is easy to enjoy when you play with guys like these.”

Audio clips of Ryan Oosthuizen and Impi Visser (Afrikaans and English) can be downloaded here. (http://bit.ly/392OqfZ)

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Young Blitzboks know all about patience and determination

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Branco du Preez will play in his 74th HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament, Cecil Afrika his 63rd and Werner Kok his 50th, so it is fair to say that the Blitzboks will rock up at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Los Angeles with some serious experience for the HSBC LA Sevens on Saturday and Sunday.

On the other end of the Springbok Sevens scale you will find the likes of Sako Makata (seven tournaments) and Mfundo Ndhlovu (four tournaments), but both return to the USA leg of the circuit clear on what they need to do to add value to the Blitzboks’ effort on the weekend.

Makata is back in the tournament squad for the first time since June last year and Ndhlovu, the official reserve, also last played in Paris in 2019.

Makata made his World Series debut in Las Vegas a year ago and his second visit to the USA brings calm and determination to comply with his role and responsibility in the squad.

According to the former Sterling High School winger, now playing as a prop in the sevens code, getting back into the match day squad is a relief as well as a blessing.

He missed the start of the season due to an ankle injury and only made his return to the World Series last month, when he travelled to New Zealand and Australia as the official reserve. Makata was called into the squad in Sydney when Impi Visser was ruled out and played in the final against Fiji, which South Africa lost 12-10.

“I am excited to be back and that comes from some hard work behind the scenes, doing rehab and getting back to match fitness. I am pretty keen to contribute on the field now and give it my best shot,” the 22-year-old confessed.

The time off the field – excluding when he did rehabilitation and conditioning – was also spent watching the team play and learning from that, although only mentally.

“I watched the guys in my position in particular and what they were doing and what I would have done if I was in that situation,” said Makata.

“I am learning all the time and that worked for me, trying to put myself in their boots. There is often a different perspective from the outside and being in that match situation yourself and combining the two makes you better, I believe.”

Makata has now played in 26 matches and he is patiently adding to that tally: “I would have loved to have played more, but we have a big squad with a lot of quality players and coupled with my injury, I missed out.

“The importance though is grabbing this opportunity and showing that I can contribute to the squad and the system this weekend,” he said, adding that he welcomes the competition in the squad, as it improves his development as a player.

“It brings the best out in everyone and I can learn from some very experienced guys in the squad as well. It certainly improved me as a player and now I have the opportunity to convert that in the tournament.”

Ndhlovu, named as 13th player for this trip after being in the starting team last year, is also on a comeback trail after being sidelined for two months due to a hamstring injury. The laid-back Standerton-born outside back said his return to the squad is food for the soul.

“I am a religious person and believe that God will determine my destiny,” said Ndhlovu.

“I had some setbacks along the line with injury, but that made me stronger and more determined. It is great being back and I am taking in all of the experience and expertise from the senior guys.”

Ndhlovu made his debut in Hong Kong in 2018 and again featured in Paris in the same season. Last year, he played in Las Vegas and Paris and hopes for a longer run this time around.

“I certainly missed out on valuable game time in the last two years, but that was God's plan for me, and I accept that. I am blessed to still be here and would like to make the most of the opportunities that will still come my way,” he said.

The Blitzboks are second seeds in the tournament and will play alongside Ireland, Canada and Kenya in Pool B.

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"Fresh" Blitzboks banking on momentum in Los Angeles

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A new route to the USA, a change in format and a new venue for the fifth tournament of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series mean an extra day of preparation for the Springbok Sevens team as they gear up for the HSBC LA Sevens at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Los Angeles.

The team travelled from Cape Town to Los Angeles via Newark, which eliminated 11 hours of their average travel time to the USA, while the venue of the first to two North American tournaments was moved from Nevada to the Californian coast.

Furthermore, the Las Vegas tournament was a three-day event, with Los Angeles being played on Saturday and Sunday.

This will help the Blitzboks in their final preparation this week, confirmed Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell.

“The flight already made a huge difference for us,” said Powell.

“It is the first time we flew directly to the USA, normally we went via London and had another transit before getting to Las Vegas, where the Friday start meant a three-day turnaround.

“This time out, we cut out travel time and an extra flight, so will have more than enough time to recover and prepare.”

Powell feels fairly settled with his squad and only made three changes to his squad from the last tournament in Sydney, something that will assist in continuing with the momentum gained in Australia.

“Yes, we did travel to Australasia with half a dozen changes from the Cape Town leg and that had a bigger impact than expected in our performances in Hamilton. The Sydney effort was much more to our standards and one we need to back up here in the USA,” said Powell. 

Back in Stellenbosch, Powell had to adjust his plans for the North American trip and the fifth and sixth legs of the World Series after the news that the next two tournaments, Hong Kong and Singapore, were rescheduled for October.

“That had an impact on our planning and the way we wanted to manage some players and even management, said Powell.  

“The end goal of the season remains the Olympic Games in Japan in July and how we arrive there best prepared, so we needed to change our plans when those two tournaments were moved to October.

“We are still trying to find ways to counter that 10-week period that will now be without matches and we are discussing various options.

”For the here and now, the extra day in Los Angeles will give us more time to recover and then prepare for what awaits us on Saturday.

“We have done some good work back home, but there is still work needed on defence and on attack, where we can be sharper. We are striving for a perfect performance, so will work hard this week,” added the Blitzbok coach. 

The Blitzboks’ playing schedule (SA times) in Pool B:

Saturday 29 February
21h35 v Kenya

Sunday 1 March
00h53 v Canada
05h05 v Ireland

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Blitzboks change three as Kok hits 50

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Werner Kok will play in his 50th HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament for the Springbok Sevens team next weekend in Los Angeles, where Ryan Oosthuizen, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Mfundo Ndhlovu will return to action in the green and gold.

Blitzbok coach Neil Powell made three changes to the side that lost in the final of the HSBC Sydney Sevens early this month, with Justin Geduld, Chris Dry and Zain Davids being rested after featuring in all four tournaments of the series in Dubai, Cape Town, Hamilton and Sydney so far.

Oosthuizen (in for Dry) and Arendse (in for Geduld) both played in the opening two tournaments of the season, while Ndhlovu last played in Paris last year when the 2018/19 World Series concluded.

Ndhlovu will travel west at official reserve, with Sako Makata elevated into the starting team to take over from Davids.

Stedman Gans will again captain the side in the absence of Siviwe Soyizwapi, who just missed the return to play deadline for this trip.

The Blitzboks, currently second on the overall log, have been drawn in the same pool as Kenya, Canada and Ireland at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Los Angeles.

The South Africans will face Ireland and Canada for the first time in the current series, but will find familiar foes in Kenya, with their match against fellow Africans their fourth of the season. The East Africans outplayed the Blitzboks in their previous meeting in Hamilton.

Powell said they needed to adjust their plans with the news that the Hong Kong and Singapore legs of the series have been rescheduled, but some rest for players were always on the cards.

“Justin, Chris and Zain played a lot of rugby so far and were always going to get a rest this trip,” said Powell.

“Ryan is very keen to get back into the action, Kurt-Lee has recovered from the knock that kept him out of the previous trip and Sako deserves his chance after travelling as the extra player to New Zealand and Australia.

“Mfundo is also back to full fitness and with Angelo Davids also able to play in the forwards, we called on his skills out wide for this trip. We want to give all players a fair opportunity to stake a claim for the Olympic Games.”

Kok will follow in the footsteps of Branco du Preez, Chris Dry, Kyle Brown, Frankie Horne, Cecil Afrika, Philip Snyman and Justin Geduld when he takes the field in his 250th match for his country.

The inclusion of Du Preez means that he will extend the SA record for tournament appearances in the World Series to 74. Afrika will also could extend his career point’s record for the Blitzboks (1445 points).

The players and management depart for the USA on Saturday.

The Springbok Sevens squad for the HSBC LA Sevens is:
1. Angelo Davids (four tournaments, 20 matches; 65 points, 13 tries)
2. Ryan Oosthuizen (19 tournaments, 95 matches; 95 points, 19 tries)
3. Impi Visser (13 tournaments, 64 matches; 65 points, 13 tries)
4. Sako Makata (seven tournaments, 26 matches; 10 points, two tries)
5. Werner Kok (49 tournaments, 249 matches; 530 points, 106 tries)
6. JC Pretorius (nine tournaments, 48 matches, 110 points, 22 tries)
7. Branco du Preez (73 tournaments, 369 matches; 1316 points, 94 tries, 420 conversions, 1 penalty, 1 drop goal)
8. Selvyn Davids (18 tournaments, 90 matches; 372 points, 39 tries, 87 conversions, 1 penalty)
9. Kurt-Lee Arendse (six tournaments, 25 matches; 55 points, 11 tries)
10. Cecil Afrika (64 tournaments, 333 matches; 1445 points, 176 tries, 281 conversions, 1 penalty)
11. Muller du Plessis (12 tournaments, 51 matches; 170 points, 34 tries)
12. Stedman Gans (captain; 20 tournaments, 94 matches; 140 points, 28 tries)
13. Mfundo Ndhlovu (four tournaments, 17 matches; 25 points, five tries) – official reserve

The Pools for the HSBC LA Sevens are:
Pool A: Fiji, Argentina, France, Korea
Pool B: South Africa, Ireland, Canada, Kenya
Poo C: USA, Australia, Scotland, Samoa
Pool D: England, New Zealand, Wales, Spain

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South Africa (SA) Rugby congratulates Springboks on prestigious Laureus Award

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The Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok team of 2019 added another fantastic award to their impressive list of recent accolades when they scooped the prestigious Laureus Team of the Year Award in Berlin on Monday evening.

The South African national rugby team pipped an illustrious list of top international sporting teams to lift the award in the German capital. It’s the second time the Springboks have won the Laureus accolade – the team that lifted the 2007 Rugby World Cup were awarded the prize in early 2008.

English football giants Liverpool were also in the running after clinching the Champions League crown, as well as the US Women’s Football Team (Women’s World Cup winners), Mercedes-AMG Petronas (for winning the Formula One constructors’ title), the Toronto Raptors (first Canadian team to claim the NBA Championship) and the Spanish Men’s Basketball team (World Cup winners).

The memory of Siya Kolisi lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in Yokohama last November was an iconic moment in sport and the audience in the Verti Halle in Berlin applauded the emotional moment when Kolisi led six of the team members on stage to receive the Laureus Statuette.

The team’s victory united communities in South Africa and was proof of sport’s ability to change the world.

With Rassie Erasmus at the coaching helm and Kolisi’s inspirational captaincy, the Springboks won the 2019 RWC title convincingly and also cleaned up at the World Rugby Awards in Japan shortly thereafter.

“We are absolutely bursting with pride and would like to congratulate Rassie, Siya and the Springbok team, as well as the management for receiving this fantastic award,” said SA Rugby President Mr Mark Alexander.

“They were so heroic on the field and through their excellent off-field conduct, they were true examples of excellent South African ambassadors.

“Our country can be very proud of this team and what they have accomplished in such a short space of time. They made an amazing turn-around to establish the Springboks once more as a major force in world sport.

“On behalf of SA Rugby, I would like to congratulate the entire Springbok team and management on this fantastic accomplishment. We saw how powerful a successful Springbok team can be, uniting South Africans from all walks of life, and we are immensely proud of their achievements.”

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SA Rugby confirms venues for Springboks’ 2020 home Tests

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World Champions’ home Test programme confirmed; Final Springbok Test at DHL Newlands; rising Georgia make SA debut in Port Elizabeth; New Zealand visit the Lowveld in September

The Springboks will bid an emotional farewell to DHL Newlands in Cape Town in July, and will face the All Blacks in a brand-new venue in September, after SA Rugby confirmed the host stadiums for the Boks’ six home Tests in 2020 on Tuesday.

All three the Castle Lager Rugby Championship matches – against New Zealand, Australia and Argentina – will take place up north, while the three Tests in the Castle Lager Incoming Series – against Scotland and Georgia in a new Test window in July – will be hosted on the coast.

In what will be a final international at the oldest Test venue in the Southern Hemisphere, DHL Newlands in Cape Town will host the Springboks for their first match since their memorable triumph over England in the Rugby World Cup Final in Japan last November.

The two-match series against the Scots kicks off on Saturday 4 July in Cape Town, with the two sides meeting again a week later at Jonsson Kings Park in Durban.

That is followed by a historic first home Test for the Springboks against Georgia, at the majestic Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Mandela Day (Saturday, 18 July). The Friendly City traditionally pulls in very good crowds for Springbok Tests and the Boks can look forward to another good turnout against the Georgians.

The Springboks will also defend their Castle Lager Rugby Championship title, which starts with a match against Argentina at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on Saturday, 8 August.

The away match against the Pumas on 15 August is then followed by a visit to Australasia for the away fixtures against the Wallabies (29 August) and All Blacks (5 September) before the Boks return to South Africa for two home fixtures to complete their 2020 campaign.

Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria will host the Springboks’ clash with the Wallabies on 19 September, where the Australians have yet to register a win against the men in green and gold, after which the highly-anticipated Test against the All Black will take place a week at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, on 26 September.

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said the six home Test matches will offer local supporters across the country an exciting opportunity to watch their Rugby World Cup winning Springbok heroes in action on South African soil.

“The Springboks had a fantastic season last year which resulted in successes in both the Castle Lager Rugby Championship and the Rugby World Cup and we saw the passion for the Boks from all South Africans upon their return from Japan,” said Roux.

“There is a huge amount of excitement amongst our fans to watch the Springboks live in action again in our own backyard and this year’s home schedule will give them just that, starting with a farewell to DHL Newlands in the first Test against Scotland, a historic clash with Georgia before the defence of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship gets underway and we finish off by taking the All Blacks to the Lowveld for the very first time.”

Ticketing information and kick-off times will be communicated in due course.

The Springboks home Test schedule for 2020:

Castle Lager Incoming Series:

4 July: South Africa vs Scotland – DHL Newlands, Cape Town

11 July: South Africa vs Scotland – Jonsson Kings Park, Durban

18 July: South Africa vs Georgia – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Castle Lager Rugby Championship:

8 August: South Africa vs Argentina – Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg

19 September: South Africa vs Australia – Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

26 September: South Africa vs New Zealand – Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

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Sydney finalists Blitzboks close gap on World Series log

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The Springbok Sevens team on Sunday closed the gap on New Zealand in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series log and consolidated second spot after suffering an agonizing 12-10 defeat to Fiji in the final of the HSBC Sydney Sevens.

The Kiwi side are still top of the log with 76 points after four tournaments, with South Africa nine points behind on 67. France (56), who started the weekend in joint-second spot with South Africa, dropped to third, followed by England (54), Fiji (53) and USA (47).

The final was played in a downpour at Bankwest Stadium and this resulted in a tight affair which saw Fiji scoring twice in the first half. After Fiji scored an early converted try, JC Pretorius responded to cut the lead to just two points. 

Fiji extended the lead with a well-worked move from a line-out to lead 12-5 at the break.

Zain Davids scored out wide late in the second half, but that still left the Blitzboks two points short and hard as they tried, the final scoring act did not come, and Fiji could celebrate.

Earlier in the day, South Africa qualified for the final by beating USA 19-12 and dominating Samoa 32-0 (match reports here (http://bit.ly/2S8QziS)).

The performance of the Blitzboks proved a huge improvement from last weekend and coach Neil Powell expressed his satisfaction with the overall effort, but said the result in the final is hurting.

“That one hurts a bit, because we did not sustain the excellent form we displayed in the first four matches of the tournament. We had some basics letting us down in the final and that was disappointing. We paid the price, unfortunately.”

Powell paid credit to Fiji: “I thought we had control of the match till the end, but Fiji exploited our mistakes and they won. Our guys really deserve credit though with their effort this week. The final will be a negative, but there are so many positives for us from this weekend,” the coach pointed out.

“We will be going into the next tournament with some confidence and momentum and that is a good thing.”

Blitzboks captain, Stedman Gans, said the mistakes in the final will be remembered.

“We did improve a lot from last weekend and the way we improved was very positive. The final was a let-down though and we will have to look at ourselves again, because we lost due to our mistakes. As a squad, we are improving though and I think we are on the up, which is a good thing.”

The Blitzboks will return to their home base in Stellenbosch on Monday evening.

The next tournament of the World Series will be played in Los Angeles on 29 February and 1 March, followed by Vancouver a week later.

•Three Blitzboks, JC Pretorius, Angelo Davids and Selvyn Davids were named in the tournament Dream Team.

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Davids gets six as Blitzboks hit straps

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Winger Angelo Davids scored a hat-trick of tries against Argentina and France at Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta on Saturday as the Springbok Sevens delivered a masterclass of sevens at the HSBC Sydney Sevens.

They outplayed Argentina 52-14 and France 24-12 to top pool B and looks set to qualify for the Cup semifinals later Sunday. They need to get the better of Samoa at 02h51 (SA time) on Sunday to secure a top four finish but could also go through on points' difference should results not go according to script against the South Pacific team.

The Blitzboks were under pressure to deliver following an unsatisfactory showing in Hamilton last weekend and opened the fourth tournament of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series red-hot, putting eight tries past Argentina in temperatures that touched 40 degrees.

Davids, alongside namesakes Zain and Selvyn, JC Pretorius and Justin Geduld, in his 50th tournament for South Africa, crossed the line against Argentina. The winger dotted down in the 6th, 12th and 13th minutes of the match, with his second effort the most spectacular, beating two opponents with a brilliant step and swerve

Selvyn Davids also scored a beauty stepping two opponents and then racing away for an 80-meter effort.

For Angelo, it was a normal day of the office. “The guys on the inside did all the hard work,” he smiled modestly. “We realised that we needed to be disciplined and stay true to our structures and that delivered the results. It was great to score those tries, but it was a team-effort really,” said the 20-year old.

The South Americans were blitzed big time. JC Pretorius scored in the opening minute and great defensive pressure by the South Africans resulted in regular turn-over of possession, which was converted into tries.

France, who came into the tournament sharing second place on the overall World Series log, also fell afoul of Davids, who scored his first try in the opening minute, a second just before the half-time break following a delightful grubber by Selvyn Davids and his third after 13 minutes of play. JC Pretorius continued his try-scoring feat against the French in the current season with a fine try early in the second half, as the Blitzboks ran great lines and an excellent final pass from Impi Visser put his blonde-haired teammate in space.

France got tries either side of the half to stay in the hunt, but never really looked like toppling the South Africans.

For assistant-coach, Renfred Dazel, this was a job well-done and he applauded the players.

“Yes, they probably had a point to prove – even just to themselves – and did so excellently. From a coaches' point of view, it is always nice to see the effort of the players being rewarded and their hard work bearing fruit. They were very good today, physical when needed, but also clinical and that is great to see.”

Scorers:
South Africa 52 (26), Argentina 14 (0).
South Africa – Tries: Angelo Davids (3), Selvyn Davids (2), Zain Davids, Justin Geduld, JC Pretorius. Conversions: Selvyn Davids (2), Justin Geduld (2), Branco du Preez (2).
Argentina – Tries: Matías Osadczuk, Felipe del Mestre. Conversions: Francisco Ulloa (2)

South Africa 24 (14), France 12 (7)
South Africa – Tries: Angelo Davids (3), JC Pretorius. Conversions: Selvyn Davids (2)
France – Tries: Sacha Valleau (2). Conversion: Jean Pascal Barraque.

The remaining fixture against Samoa is at 02h51 on Sunday.

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