‘Courageous’ England tough it out to beat Blitzbokke 14-7
England edged out South Africa in a tight encounter 14-7 to set up a Cup semi-final with defending champions Fiji at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens on Sunday.
South Africa got off to the worst possible start before the match even started when their influential captain Kyle Brown had to withdraw from the tournament because of concussion.
Things got worse for them when Dan Norton, who is having an excellent competition, put England in front in the early stages of the first half. His score was converted by captain Tom Mitchell.
But the Blitzbokke fought back and drew level just before half-time when Justin Geduld crossed over and his try was converted by Branco du Preez. It was nip and tuck from here on, but a try with just over a minute to go by Jack Clifford – who seemed to pull his hamstring in the process – saw England home.
England coach Simon Amor was ecstatic with the victory.
“It was an incredibly tough game. It’s always close with South Africa. I was really pleased with the heart we showed. Yes, we made a few mistakes but we just kept going,” Amor said.
“We played some really good stuff and I think Dan Norton is playing some of the best rugby of his career right now. He’s been outstanding.
“We showed a lot of courage in what was a very tough game, so I’m delighted for them. We’ve Fiji up next and they’re the form team right now. They’re scoring tries for fun. It’ll be a huge challenge for us but we’ll give it our best shot.”