BlitzBokke power into Cup quarters
The BlitzBokke beat Kenya 27-7 in the Pool B decider to finish Day One unbeaten and set up a Cup quarterfinal clash with Portugal.
The BlitzBokke beat Kenya 27-7 in the Pool B decider in Port Elizabeth on Saturday to finish Day One unbeaten and set up a Cup quarterfinal clash with Portugal.
On a day in which all 16 teams wore black armbands and united for the playing of the South African national anthem and a minute's silence in tribute to former South African President Mandela, the BlitzBokke rose to the occasion.
Captain Kyle Brown drew first blood for the hosts in the Pool B decider but the Paul Treu-coached Kenyans soon drew level with a converted try of their own through Felix Ayange.
Philip Snyman powered through the Kenyan defence and ran all of 70 metres to regain the lead for South Africa and Frankie Horne controlled a deft crosskick from Justin Geduld to score his 50th series try and give the BlitzBokke a 17-7 half-time lead.
Horne sent the home crowd into rapture when he broke clear and had the pace to go over for his brace just after the interval to give the BlitzBokke a 15-point buffer.
Horace Otieno butchered a try when he knocked on a rolling ball in-goal, which put paid to Kenyan’s chances, before Cheslin Kolbe capped the win with a final score.
Defending champions New Zealand and Dubai champions Fiji beat Wales 48-7 and Scotland 29-12 respectively in their final fixtures to complete Day One unbeaten.
Argentina also finished unbeaten after edging England 21-19 in third fixture to top Pool D and earn themselves a place in the Cup quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, a resurgent Samoa finished Day One with a 43-0 rout of Zimbabwe, France pipped Australia 19-12, Portugal prevailed 33-17 over USA and Spain secured a 26-12 win over Canada.
The BlitzBokke, in their second pool game, romped to a lopsided 38-0 thumping of Spain.
Branco du Preez cantered over for the opening try and Kolbe showed his x-factor next as he danced in between two defenders to score a scorcher.
Chris Dry went over for try number three after he caught Spain napping to put the BlitzBokke 21-0 up at half-time.
Werner Kok dived over in the corner shortly after the break and electrified the crowd with a spectacular show of pace to grab his second.
Albertus “Kwagga” Smith had the final say with South Africa’s sixth try.
New Zealand, meanwhile, hammered USA 43 -7, Portugal upset Wales 28-17, England beat Zimbabwe 35-7, Kenya toppled Canada 24-12, Argentina prevailed 26-19 over Samoa, Fiji eased to a 27-7 win over France and Australia defeated Scotland 31-19.
Earlier, an emotional BlitzBok side got their home campaign off to a solid start with a comfortable 24-7 win over Canada.
The pressure to perform at the venue that bears the late, great Mandela’s name was evident as the hosts fumbled the kick-off.
However, Sampie Mastriet calmed the nerves when he scored South Africa’s first try and the BlitzBokke kicked on from there.
Cecil Afrika went over moments later thanks to some fancy footwork before Brown scored the third on half-time.
The BlitzBokke lost their way somewhat and Afrika to a knee injury in the second half with Philip Mack crossing for Canada but the hosts replied with a first try for debutant Smith to seal their opening win.
New Zealand, in their opening game, thrashed Portugal 43-0, Wales beat USA 26-10, Samoa edged out England 24-14 and Kenya shut out Spain 28-0.
Argentina were too strong for Zimbabwe, winning 31-5, Fiji beat Australia 26-5 and France beat Scotland 33-21.
Quarterfinals, Sunday, December 8:
(Kick-off times are local - GMT minus two hours)
Australia v Zimbabwe, 11.11
Wales v Canada, 11.33
England v Scotland, 11.55
Spain v United States, 12.17
Fiji v Samoa, 12.39
New Zealand v Kenya, 13.01
Argentina v France, 13.23
South Africa v Portugal, 13.45