Blitzboks squeeze into the finals

By Lucky Maree

Sevens is a game supposed to be played in bright sunshine and on dry fields – but the weather gods had other plans for the pool stages at the HSBC Sevens Tournament in Los Angeles.

Conditions could not be worse as torrential rain soaks the playing field and players go sliding around the turf, making rooster tails like jet skis.

The temperature hovers around 6 degrees throughout the day as heavy snow falls in the hills around the City of Angels. The matches are delayed for two hours because of lightning. (Not a great day to be making movies in Hollywood, then.)

No wonder that all sorts of strange results creep onto the scoreboards, and South Africa also has variable results.

Against Canada, a match that the Blitzboks should win easily, they score for the first time on the stroke of halftime. It takes until the 13th minute before the South Africans score a coast to coast try through that remarkable energy-ball known as Tricky Dicky Ricky Duarttee.

Against Uruguay, Ronald Brown puts the Blitzboks ahead early with a well-worked try, but Uruguay score early in the second half to even the scores.

The try Uruguay gets just one minute before full time gives them the victory. It might be the loss for the Blitzboks that keep them out of the medal chase.

The Blitzboks’ third match, against a fired up Ireland, could cost South Africa a medal. If they win they top the pool, if they lose they will probably – but not certainly – still finish second. All to play for as the rain comes pelting down once again.

Ireland score first as the Blitzboks look just a little flat. But Shilton van Wyk, working in company with Duarttee and Ronald Brown score an unconverted beauty. Tired bodies trot slowly into halftime with a two point lead.

With five minutes to go, South Africa are getting uncomfortably close to missing out on the quarter final contest.

Phew! South Africa make it into the last eight and they’ll play Fiji to get into the last four.

According to the forecast, it’ll be a clear, dry, day on Sunday (Sunday night in South Africa). Hard to believe as the rain gushes down. The Blitzboks play Fiji in the last eight later tonight at around midnight.

Blitzboks (2 tries) 12-0 (0 tries) Canada
Blitzboks (1 try) 5-10 (2 tries) Uruguay
Blitzboks (1 try) 5-14 (2 tries) Ireland

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