Blitzboks Secure Final Olympic Spot in Dramatic Repechage Victory

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Blitzboks qualify for 2024 Paris Olympics with 14-5 victory.
Overcame challenging season, finishing seventh in HSBC SVNS.
Dominated Uganda and Canada in repechage quarterfinals, semifinals.
Strong defensive play secured final win over Great Britain.

The Springbok Sevens, known as the Blitzboks, clinched the last remaining berth for the men’s Rugby Sevens at the 2024 Paris Olympics with a determined 14-5 victory over Great Britain in the World Rugby Sevens Repechage final held in Monaco. This triumph marks their third consecutive qualification for the Olympic Games, following their participation in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.

A Season of Challenges and Resilience

The journey to qualification was far from smooth for the Blitzboks. The 2024 season saw them finishing seventh overall in the HSBC SVNS series, a significant drop from their top-four finishes in previous Olympic cycles. Additionally, a setback in the Rugby Africa Sevens final in Harare, where they lost but managed a second-place finish, led them to the Monaco repechage.

Despite these challenges, the Blitzboks showcased their resilience and determination. Their performance in Monaco was a testament to their hard work and strategic adjustments. On the final day, they delivered commanding performances, shutting out Uganda 26-0 in the quarterfinals and overpowering Canada 28-0 in the semifinals.

The Road to Victory

The final against Great Britain was a display of tactical brilliance and physical prowess. The match began with a brilliant move from Selvyn Davids, whose deft foot pass set up Quewin Nortje for the opening try, converted by Tristan Leyds, giving South Africa a 7-0 lead. Great Britain responded with a try from Robbie Ferguson, narrowing the gap to 7-5.

However, the Blitzboks quickly regained control. From the restart, Shilton van Wyk sprinted 50 meters to score, with Leyds adding the conversion, extending the lead to 14-5 by halftime. The second half was a defensive masterclass from the Blitzboks, who withstood relentless pressure from Great Britain to secure their spot in Paris.

Key Performances and Team Effort

The Blitzboks’ journey through the repechage was marked by standout performances and cohesive teamwork. In the quarterfinals, Tristan Leyds and Shaun Williams were instrumental, each contributing significantly to the 26-0 win over Uganda. Leyds continued his exceptional form in the semifinals against Canada, scoring multiple tries and conversions, while Selvyn Davids and Rosko Specman added to the tally, resulting in a 28-0 victory.

In the final, it was the combination of strategic play and individual brilliance that secured the win. Quewin Nortje’s opening try, followed by van Wyk’s impressive run, showcased the depth of talent within the team. Leyds’ accurate conversions throughout the repechage were crucial in ensuring the Blitzboks’ success.

Looking Ahead to Paris 2024

With their ticket to Paris secured, the Blitzboks now turn their focus to preparing for the 2024 Olympics. The team will aim to build on their experiences from Rio and Tokyo, where they narrowly missed out on medals.

Scorers Summary

Springbok Sevens 26 (19), Uganda 0 (0)
Tries: Tristan Leyds (2), Zain Davids, Shaun Williams
Conversions: Leyds (2), Williams

Springbok Sevens 28 (14), Canada 0 (0)
Tries: Selvyn Davids (2), Tristan Leyds, Rosko Specman
Conversions: Leyds (3), Williams

Springbok Sevens 14 (14), Great Britain 5 (5)
Tries: Quewin Nortje, Shilton van Wyk
Conversions: Tristan Leyds (2)
Try for GB: Robbie Ferguson

Notable Performances

Tristan Leyds: Scored two tries and two conversions against Uganda, and three conversions against Canada, totaling 19 points.
Selvyn Davids: Notable for his two tries against Canada and a crucial foot pass setting up the opening try in the final.
Shaun Williams: Contributed significantly with a try and a conversion against Uganda, showing strong offensive skills.
Shilton van Wyk: Scored a pivotal 50-meter try in the final against Great Britain, ensuring a 14-5 halftime lead.

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