The Springboks won their first match of the IRB Sevens World Series in Wellington this morning in impressive style when they beat Scotland 24-0 in a first round of pool matches where the top sides had to work hard for victory.
In the Boks’ clash with Scotland, the Scots were the early attackers, but were then forced to defend for most of the first half. South Africa’s Mpho Mbiyozo was unfortunate to be denied a try for what the referee deemed to be a double movement.
But with a surfeit of possession and a slickness on the attack coupled with the smothering defence that has become a feature of the Springboks’ play, the Scots couldn’t hold out for ever.
It was Rayno Benjamin who scored first for captain Mzwandile Stick to convert. Then Renfred Dazel made the play after an interception to link up with Benjamin and score himself after a run around to make it 12-0 at halftime.
Scotland had arrived with a new side and high hopes but with the score at 19-0 after another converted try by Benjamin, it was all over despite Kyle Brown’s yellow card for holding back a supporter.
However, the Scots squandered the penalty and Gio Aplon scored an unconverted try (24-0).
Worrying for South Africa’s coach Paul Treu would have been two lost lineouts and perhaps also the penalties at breakdown in a game marked by the few scrums.
In South Africa’s Pool A crowd favourites Kenya were made to work hard by Tonga but had too much speed and skill for the Islanders and won 21-14 after being square at halftime (7-7).
Home town favourites New Zealand succumbed to a shock 28-17 defeat to Wales while Australia scraped past Niue (22-17).
Al Caravelli’s United States side shocked Fiji in the third match of the day, scoring at the death to win 15-10 against a side obviously affected by the firing of national hero and coach Waisale Serevi during the week.
Earlier England twice came from behind to beat a gutsy France 26-10 and Canada surprised to draw with fancied Argentina 17-17.
Cook Islands forced the best out of Samoa, who eventually 12-5 with their greater experience making the difference.