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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Blitzboks stumble in Singapore, drop to seventh on overall series log

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Cape Town — The Blitzboks ended another tournament of the World Rugby Sevens Series on a disappointing note, finishing outside of the top 10 at the Singapore Sevens.

After losing two matches in their pool on Saturday, the team struggled further on Sunday, failing to beat lowly Spain to stay in the top 10.

The Spaniards beat the Springbok Sevens for the first time ever, winning the 9th-pace semi-final 12-5 to condemn the Blitzboks to another poor finish at a tournament. They could only claim five points in Singapore.

Yes, the team was curtailed by injuries early on in the competition, but losing to Spain brought a new low to their already dismal season.

The poor display in Singapore condemned the South Africans back to seventh place on the overall series log after they made good strides in the Hong Kong tournament that saw them briefly jump to fifth place.

The first four teams will qualify automatically for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Currently, the Blitzboks are well off automatic qualification and if they do not achieve it, they will have to qualify through a regional tournament.

There are two tournaments left, in Toulouse (12-14 May) and London (20-21 May), for the South African side to make a last-ditch effort to jump up the log, but as things stand now, it doesn’t look like they’ll achieve automatic qualification.

With a host of experienced players already on the sidelines back at home, the Blitzboks also did not have any luck with injuries in Singapore.

They lost three players after the pool games on Saturday and a fourth on Sunday after beating Ireland 12-5 to set up the match with Spain.

Playmakers Ricardo Duarttee and Shaun Williams, together with Tiaan Pretorius did not make it past the group stages where the team lost against Australia and New Zealand, picking up a solitary victory over Hong Kong China.

Newcomer Donovan Don was injured against Ireland which meant the side played with only nine fit players against the Spaniards. That opened the door for their opponents to clinch a narrow historical first victory over South Africa.

Sandile Ngcobo, Blitzboks coach, will be hoping that some of his more senior players will be available for the trip to Europe to salvage some pride in the final two tournaments.

@Leighton_K

IOL Sport

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