Blitzboks let Kiwis off the hook

South Africa lost 24-17 to New Zealand in the Edinburgh Sevens after leading 12-5 at the break.

The Boks, who came into the game as underdogs, were put on the back-foot in the second minute when Kiwi captain DJ Forbes crossed the tryline. However, South Africa showed great composure and worked their way back with MJ Mentz scoring in the fifth minute and Ryno Benjamin crossing just before the break.

But the Kiwis came out firing in the second spell, and scored within the first minute through Save Tokula. Tomasi Cama’s conversion leveled the game at 12-12. Forbes crossed for his second two minutes later and when Tim Mikkelson went over 30 seconds after taking the field, the Blitz Boks looked to have truly lost their first-half fizz. But Fabian Juries again featured with what proved to be a consolation try in the dying stages of play, closing the gap to seven.

In their second clash, against Russia, Juries opened the scoring for the Boks after one minute, in what was expected to be a blow-out over the European minnows. However the try, converted by Mzwandile Stick, would be the only scoring action of the first half.

Mentz scored 30 seconds into the second half to make it 12-0. Russia hit back when Dmitriy Perov converted his own try a minute later but Hoffman Maritz scored shortly after to seal the win for South Africa.

The Boks made a positive start in their first match against Italy. Stick was outstanding with the boot, converting all seven South African tries. Benjamin opened the scoring in the third minute, but the Italians answered two minutes later through Emanuele Leonardi. However, 7-5 would be the closest the Azzuri would come to the Blitz Boks. Cecil Afrika scored South Africa’s second that put them 14-5 up at half-time.

South Africa exploded after the break, running in five tries. Afrika scored his second, before Chris Dry crossed a minute later. The veteran Juries then ran in his first at the four-minute mark, before Benjamin broke through for another two tries to make it 49-5.

For full scoresheets click here.

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