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Blitzboks roar back to put 50 points past Russia

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By Mark Etheridge

A rampant South African rugby sevens side ran riot against Russia to reverse the pain of an opening match defeat to England at the Hong Kong leg of the World Rugby Sevens calendar on Saturday.
After a below-par 21-14 loss on Friday, it was the Blitzboks of old who were back with a patient, precise yet passionate performance to post 50 points without reply against Russia.
Ruhan Nel got the points flood started after just 35 seconds after good work by Branco du Preez and 90sec later it was Du Preez who went over, this time after a rampaging run by Nel down the left.
Just after the hooter sounded it was that try-scoring phenomenon Seabelo Sentatla who trotted over down he left to make the halftime score 19-0 with his 45th try of the series.
The floodgates opened in the second half with the hard-working Kwagga Smith in after 35sec after a clever chip and chase behind the Russian defensive line.
Some sloppy play and bad communication after a Russian line-out left Cecil Afrika glide over in easy fashion and it was 33-0.
Then it was the turn of debutant Siviwe Soyizwapi to grab his first World Sevens try and store a memorable moment in his memory banks.
Replacement Justin Geduld then crossed for something of a debatable try after another chip kick, television replays showing that he looked well over the deadball line when he dotted down but the referee saw no wrong doing after possibly being obscured by the upright.
That made it 45-0 and the final nail in the coffin came from Stephan Dippenaar who made it a half-century tally of points after the hooter.
The Blitzboks have made much of the fact that they’re trying to make light of the fact that this is the only venue they’ve never won a title at, something skipper Kyle Brown referred to in his post-match speech.
‘Monkey on our back, what monkey?’ he said in reply to an interviewer’s question. ‘We tend to forget last night’s match against England but we did take a bit of pain into this match. Russia were very positive as usual and this is just such a great place to play rugby.’
Next up for Neil Powell’s Blitzboks is a final Pool B clash against Scotland just before noon SA time.

Picture of Senatla in action courtesy of Getty Images


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