Blitzboks crash out in Hong Kong quarters

rugby06 April 2024 10:49
By:Brenden Nel
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Selvyn Davids © Gallo Images

The Springbok Sevens' long drought at the Hong Kong Sevens tournament continued on Saturday as they were ousted in the quarterfinals by Australia, losing 15-0 in a one-sided contest.

After being exceptional in their pool phases, and looking streets better than they were in Los Angeles when they hit a low and finished 11th in the tournament, the Blitzboks suffered a mixture of misfortune and bad luck as their resources were stretched to the limit.

Already having lost Justin Geduld to a red card in the opening game, the Blitzboks then suffered an injury to Ronald Brown and were rocked by a three-game suspension for a seemingly innocuous tackle for playmaker Selvyn Davids.

The tackle, which passed by unnoticed against Samoa, was picked up by World Rugby and cited for head contact, although any casual observer would be left scratching their heads as to how that warranted a second look, let alone a suspension.

But it left the Blitzboks with nine players to choose from for the quarterfinal, and it was clear the effects of the off-field matters had hit them hard, as they were outplayed in all aspects by the Australians.

Nathan Lawson scored on a counterattack early in the first half to punish a Blitzbok mistake and the Aussies added a second from a lost ball through Maurice Longbottom in the second, with the player converting his own try.

Longbottom then put through a penalty to close out the game and put it beyond the Blitzboks’ reach, sending Australia into the semifinals.

While the effort was a lot better than the lows of Los Angeles, the Blitzboks still need to turn up on Sunday to try and secure fifth place, which should put their top-eight fears to rest and secure their place in the final tournament in Madrid.