Senatla shines again as Blitzboks down Japan, Kenya | SASCOC - SASCOC

Senatla shines again as Blitzboks down Japan, Kenya


By Mark Etheridge

The Blitzboks opened up their Sydney Sevens campaign in contrasting style on Saturday.

A comfortable 32-0 whitewash of Japan saw Seabelo Senatla shining in his last sevens tournament for the foreseeable future before he links up with Super Rugby side the Stormers. The speedster, now South Africa’s record try-scorer in the sevens format, dotted down for three tries.

But their next pool game against Kenya was a completely different kettle of fish.

South Africa’s continental neighbours were very much in the face of their opponents and despite winning 14-7 Neil Powell’s men will know just how close it was.

The first half went scoreless for the majority of the first half but things opened up with just under two minutes to play as Augustine Ligamy galloped over after being freed up in open play. The conversion, from an acute angle, was good and it was 7-0.

The Blitzboks were nearly on the board just before the hooter when Ruhan Nel booted ahead but the kick was just too strong for his chase to bear fruition.

In the second half the Blitzboks were gifted some early chances when Kenya’s Eden Agero was yellow card just over a minute into play. That freed up the play and it was within 15sec or so that the Boks were back on level terms.

And again it was that man Senatla who was given space in backline play and his try was converted by Justin Geduld to lock things up at 7-7.

With two minutes to play, the winning score came South Africa’s way… again it went Senatla’s way.

Substitute Rosko Specimen unlocked the Kenyan defence with a kick over the top, chased it all the way to just short of the touchline and as he was brought down, was able to pop it up to Senatla who had come on an angled run to go over some way to the left of the posts.

Geduld’s radar was in tune though and his conversion made it 14-7.

The Kenyans weren’t lying down though and broke away in the dying seconds but just when it seemed they would draw level a knock-on in centre field saw the Blitzboks breathing a sigh of relief.

Coach Powell had said this week that the South Africans would have a target on their backs and it very much looks that way. The Kenyan game would have left his charges under no illusion as to how tough it’s going to be to repeat their Wellington win of last week.

Next up for the South Africans are England in their last pool match at 11.11am SA time on Saturday.

Picture of Speckman against Japan courtesy of Mark Kolbe/World Rugby

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