South Africa wins home opener at expense of Eagles

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa – The home crowd at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium was not disappointed in the first match of South Africa’s Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens campaign Saturday, a 26-0 defeat of the Men’s Eagles Sevens.

The Blitzbokke brought the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens Cup home last weekend and picked up where they left off from the 33-7 Cup Final. The scoring began in the second minute, when South Africa was awarded possession due to an Eagles penalty. The home side always moved forward in its attack before Seabelo Senatla dotted down in the corner.

The Eagles got the ball back after the restart and put together a lengthy attack of their own. Perry Baker could not find the space to put the hammer down along the touch line and was tackled before reaching the 10. The winger got rid of the ball before reaching the ground, and Folau Niua took the ball up the middle of the pitch and into a South African defender. The Eagles lost possession in a ruck 10 metres from the try line.

Maka Unufe nearly leveled the 5-0 score with a turnover and run into the Blitzbokke’s half, but even the support of captain Madison Hughes was not enough to put five points on the scoreboard.

The Eagles were awarded a lineout at midfield with 30 seconds remaining in the opening period but lost the ball within 10 seconds in a penalty. South Africa would have doubled its lead if it were not for the defensive structure of the Eagles to force a knock and the halftime whistle.

South Africa’s Werner Kok finally broke the scoring drought in the ninth minute to extend the Blitzbokke’s lead to 12-0. South Africa’s lead improved to 19-0 in the 10th minute, though it would have happened sooner had the Eagles not kept out a scoring opportunity a phase earlier.

The insertion of Carlin Isles and Zack Test gave the Eagles a different dimension on attack, but neither could find the scoresheet in the match. South Africa capped off the 26-0 win with a long try by Ryno Benjamin.

The Eagles’ second match of Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens will be played against Wales, who began the tournament with a win against Kenya. Kickoff is scheduled for 9:20 a.m. ET. Watch the match live on Universal Sports and follow updates on Twitter with @USARugby.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. South Africa
1. Carlin Isles
2. Pat Blair
3. Danny Barrett
4. Garrett Bender
5. Zack Test
6. Andrew Durutalo
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Aladdin Schirmer
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Martin Iosefo

South Africa | v. USA
1. Ruhan Nel
2. Philip Snyman
3. Francis Henry Horne
4. Kwagga Smith
5. Werner Kok
6. Kyle Gie Brown
7. Branco Du Preez
8. Ryno Benjamin
9. Warrick Gelant
10. Cecil Afrika
11. Seabelo Senatla
12. Cheslin Kolbe

Men's Eagles Sevens | 0

South Africa | 26
Tries: Senatla, Kok, Snyman, Benjamin
Conversions: Du Preez, Afrika (2)