Local favourites Progress brushed aside their opponents on the first day of the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens at Andrew Rabie High School in Port Elizabeth to book a spot in Saturday’s knock-out stages.
The Eastern Province Grand Challenge club champions from Uitenhage took a while to find their feet in their first match against Kruisfontein as a gale-force south-westerly made playing conditions extremely tricky. They eventually had little trouble in beating their Humansdorp opponents 19-7.
In their second match, against Bobbies Bloem, they increased their intensity from the outset to run out 26-5 winners. They then ran a hapless Ammosal Rugby side ragged to win 40-12.
“Our approach was always to peak later in the tournament,” said Progress star Michael de Vos. “That’s how we planned it.”
He said the windy conditions initially played havoc with their game plan. “It took a while to adapt, but I think we adapted well.”
Progress coach Allen Kommerens said their tactics were to base their game on their opponents’ defence. “We look for the weak links and then try to take advantage of them.”
Andile Witbooi and Calvano King shone for Progress on attack and in defence.
Progress had a scare when their captain, former EP utility back Deon Booysen, was rushed off to hospital for stitches to his head. He missed the team’s final match, but should be back for the all-important quarters.
The Uitenhagers will face Bobbies Bloem in the first of the quarter-final matches and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) will take on Kruisfontein in the second.
African Bombers will meet Crusaders and Junk Yard Dogs will face off against Harlequins in the last two quarter-finals.
The winner of the match between Progress and Bobbies Bloem will meet either Junk Yard Dogs or Harlequins in the first semi-final.
The survivors of the match between UJ and Kruisfontein will meet Crusaders or African Bombers in the second semi.
Gates open at 8am.
Progress vs Bobbies Bloem (9.50am)
Junk Yard Dog vs Harlequins (11.05)
UJ vs Kruisfontein (10.15am)
Crusaders vs African Bombers (10.40am)
Harbhajan Force vs Marlow
Brandwag vs Daniel Pienaar
Skymag vs Despatch
Lynx vs Ezee Fana
Marlow vs Otto du Plessis
Ezee Fana vs Daniel Pienaar
Brandwag vs Lynx
Despatch vs Grey
Junk Yard Dog vs Andrew Rabie
Framesby vs Queen’s Barbarians
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On behalf of:
Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens