Cape Town – The Springbok Sevens team topped pool A of the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth on Saturday after defeating Samoa, France and Australia and will face the USA in the Cup quarterfinals on Sunday.
The South African Blitzbokke were undefeated, one of only two teams on the day that did not have their colours lowered, with the other, Portugal, topping pool D after wins over the USA, Canada and Zimbabwe.
The South Africans, bolstered by the return of their playmaker, Cecil Afrika, attacked well, but were very impressive on defence and conceded only three tries all day, the fewest of all 16 teams in the third event of the HSBC World Series.
The Blitzbokke opened their account with an impressive 29-7 win over Samoa with Chris Dry scoring a hat-trick of tries. Afrika chipped in with a try and two conversions, with the other five pointer coming from Cornal Hendricks.
Afrika and Hendricks were on the score sheet again in the 12-7 defeat of France. Hendricks and Paul Delport scored tries in a tight clash, with Afrika slotting a conversion.
The Blitzbokke conceded an intercept try in their final pool match against Australia, but tries by Afrika, Dry and captain Frankie Horne edged the South Africans ahead and secured a 17-7 win.
In other pools, two defeats by Samoa saw the Dubai champions from last weekend being pushed out of the Cup competition, while Fiji came back well to defeat defending champions New Zealand to top pool B.
Pool C saw Wales, Argentina and Kenya all finish on 7 points after three matches, with points difference allowing the first two to progress.
Bowl quarter-finals action at the impressive Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium starts at 11:11 on Sunday, with the Cup quarter-finals to be played from 12:39, when South Africa takes on the USA.
This will be followed by Wales and New Zealand (13:01), Portugal and France (12:23) and Fiji versus Argentina (13:45).