Blitzboks edge past Kenya in London opener | SASCOC - SASCOC

Blitzboks edge past Kenya in London opener


By Mark Etheridge

As they did in Paris last weekend, South Africa’s Blitzboks got off to a shaky start in the season-ending London leg of the HSBC Sevens Series in London on Saturday.

The Blitzboks did just enough to get past continental compatriots Kenya, winning their first Pool A game 12-10 after the scores were locked at 5-5 halfway through.

Last week a rusty-looking Blitzboks lost to Scotland in their opening fixture, but regrouped to beat the same opponents in the final and wrap up the Series.

So Neil Powell will be hoping for the same sort of turnaround in Paris.

Two yellow cards during the course of the match didn’t help the Kenyan cause, but it was from the Blitzboks’ own yellow (Shakes Soyizwapi for a tackle from an offside position) that the Kenyans opened the scoring through Billy Odhiambo.

With a minute to play in the half, the Blitzboks were back as big Ruhan Nel’s nifty sidesteps, three of them, saw him in for an uncovered try.

Early in the second half the Kenyans got their second yellow and it was Rosco Speckman who ran just about the full length of the field to score after the Kenyans had been pressuring the Blitzboks close to their own line.

That made it 10-5, but the Kenyans weren’t done, and with 1min 23sec to play it was Nelson Oyoo who scored. Crucially, Dylan Sage managed to get back from a long way out and keep Oyoo from getting close to the posts. The conversion was missed and the Blitzboks lived to fight another day.

Werner Kok, who came on in the latter stages said: ‘We were a bit lucky there. The Kenyans are a very physical side and we should have taken some of the other opportunities that came our way.’

Kok dispelled any notions that the Blitzboks would be lacking motivation, with the Series win already under the belt. ’There are no problems with that. We sat down early in the week already and sorted all that out. We’ve got another job to do here and just stick to the processes like we always do.’

South Africa’s other two matches on Saturday are Wales (3.26pm SA time) and the USA at 6.32pm.

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