It wasn't pretty, but South Africa made a winning start to their Sevens campaign after a laboured 29-7 victory over South Korea. The result may sound convincing enough but the sides were level 7-7 at half-time and the crowd were so much behind the Asian side at this point that the stadium announcer cried: 'I'd no idea there were so many Koreans in Hong Kong!' It was only after the physically bigger South African side ground down the Koreans in the testing conditions that they finally stretched into the lead. Tries from Mpho Mbiyozo, Ryno Benjamin, Philip Snyman, Robert Ebersohn, and Kyle Brown with two conversions from Mzandile Stick saw the South Africans home. A brilliant individual try from Korea's Kim Won-yong was the highlight of the encounter, however, and his teammate Yun Hi-su stroked over the conversion. Despite being the tournament's number one seeds and co-leaders in the IRB Sevens Series with England, South Africa failed to get out of second gear in what was a sluggish performance. Their coach Paul Treu, however, swept aside any suggestions that it was a sub-par display from his side. 'We made a few mistakes to start with and it became a bit of a kicking contest in the first few minutes, but we kept composed and didn't panic,' Treu said. 'The plan was to come out strongly at the start of the second half and we did just that. 'At other times over the season we've been too relaxed and failed to put teams away. Today our forward momentum was good and we kept going to the very end.' South Africa have emerged as one of the major powers in world sevens rugby in recent years but are still waiting to break their duck at the Hong Kong showpiece. The only trophy they have been able to get their hands on in Hong Kong is a Plate win over Scotland in 2002. They did reach the Cup final in 1997 where they were beaten in a classic encounter by Fiji 24-21, and last year when they were well beaten in the decider by New Zealand 26-12. After a great start to this season's IRB Sevens Series winning the Cup finals in Dubai 19-12 over England and their home tournament in George against New Zealand 12-7, they have lost momentum and were narrowly beaten by Argentina 14-12 in the quarter-finals of the World Cup Sevens three weeks ago in Dubai. Winning in Hong Kong for the first time would go some way to making up for that huge disappointment. 'We've come here with the sole objective of winning the competition and we've got off to a good start,' Treu said. 'If we keep concentrating on getting the small things right and improving with every game I'll be happy.' The first day's play is usually a cakewalk for the big guns, and Treu agreed that nothing could really be gauged by any of the big teams' performances as the opposition was so weak. 'At this stage of the competition all you can ask for is getting a win on the board,' Treu said. 'It's a first chance for the guys to get out there playing, getting the ball in hand and losing any nerves they may have. We'll see where we can improve and get ready for the next games.'