Bernado Botha of South Africa during the match between South Africa and Zimbabwe on day 1 of the George Sevens event at Outeniqua Park on December 10, 2010 in George, South Africa. Winger Sibusiso Sithole who represented the SA U20s during the IRB Junior World Championships in Argentina earlier this year was the star performer for the host in their final game of the day as the Boks scored five tries during their victory over the Pumas.
Sithole added a brace while captain Kyle Brown, former skipper Paul Delport and their physical winger Bernado Botha all added their names to the try-scoring sheet. Argentina’s only five pointer of the game was scored by Santiago Bottini.
The Springboks will face England, who took top honours in Dubai last week, on Saturday (kick-off 1.38pm) in the cup quarter final and if they match their performance on the first day, they stand a good chance of repeating the success they achieved here in 2008. In that year the Boks won the George leg and were eventually crowned world champions.
South Africa could not have asked for a better start in front of their home crowd as they ran in six tries against Portugal to bag a 38-0 win. After achieving the relatively rare feat of not conceding points, the local favourites faced neighbouring Zimbabwe. In that match it took the Boks only 25 seconds to open their account when flyhalf Cecil Afrika combined well with Branco du Preez to open the scoring for the hosts.
In the first two matches Afrika’s goal kicking was superb while the younger players continued building the confidence needed to compete with the big guns in future. Prior to the tournament coach Paul Treu said that it will be important for his men to play as a unit and show commitment in everything they do.
They did just that and Treu is bound to be a happy man when considering that his men only conceded 12 points in the three matches they played – highlighting a great defensive effort. Another area where the Springbok speedsters improved from last week’s showing in Dubai was in their accuracy at the tackle area. The Boks looked after their own ball and also competed well at the breakdowns throughout the day. The added experience former skipper Paul Delport brought to the squad definitely had a positive effect on the team.
Delport was brought in to replace the injured Renfred Dazel and made good use of the chance he was given. In the other pools Wales came out tops in their group ahead of Australia but will have a tough challenge as they face Samoa in their following match. Fiji topped their group after an empathic win over Samoa and will be up against Australia in the other quarter final. Kenya, who had a healthy contingent of supporters in the Southern Cape city, delivered some very sub-standard performances in their three matches and will be expected to do much better when they take on Portugal in the bowl quarter final.
Unlike in the Dubai tournament there weren’t any majoyr upsets with teams expected to win, doing exactly just that. The final day’s matches are, however, bound to provide more nail-biting contests as the teams look to improve their position in the Sevens World Series standings