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Blitzboks sunk by rampant Samoans in Paris quarters
- Updated: May 15, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
South Africa’s Blitzboks crashed out of the World Sevens Cup quarter-finals in Paris on Sunday, comfortably beaten 10-21 by Samoa in easily their worst performance of the two-day tournament.
After having watched arch-rivals New Zealand being pipped by two points by Argentina minutes before their quarter, Neil Powell’s men would have needed no more motivation in their bid to climb the Series standings and improve their rankings ahead of this year’s Olympic Games in Rio.
The Blitzboks got their game off with a bang as Ruhan Nel went over 50sec into the game after a set move from a penalty.
But two minutes later it was Ed Fidow who ran in from fully 60 metres out and a successful conversion saw the halftime score at 7-5 in favour of the Pacific Islanders.
Coach Neil Powell put huge emphasis on ball possession during the half-time chat. ‘Guys, we gave away four penalties in that first half, ball possession is crucial. We must get to the breakdowns quicker and if we keep the ball for three or four passes we will score.’
Thirty seconds into the second half and they had that prized possession but former skipper Kyle Brown will be head-butting himself in the mirror when he watches the replay of him knocking on after trying to take advantage of three Samoans on the ground and out of the play.
Shortly afterward and it was Alefosio Tafili who went over to make it 14-5 with a converted try.
And with four minutes to go the writing was on the wall as Selesele put the game beyond the reach of the Blitzboks with another impressive try close to the posts and it as 21-5.
In their frantic search to claw their way in the Blitzboks made several unforced errors, losing the ball from the kick off and then Seabelo Senatla floating a pass behind Nel down the right.
They finally got back onto the scoreboard just over a minute out from the hooter as Cecil Afrika crossed but the conversion flew wide and the Blitzboks ended up on the wrong side of the 10-21 scoreline.
Picture Blitzboks in Paris action courtesy of ROGER SEDRES/ImageSA