Paul Delport’s side experienced mixed fortunes in their first two matches on the opening day of the three-day qualifying event in Santiago, where the winner of the men’s and women’s tournament each win a spot in next season’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
In their first game they managed to beat hosts Chile by 22-10 after leading 17-0 at the break on Friday evening (SA time), however, they couldn’t match the physicality of Kenya in their second match of the day (played on early Saturday morning) and lost that match by 31-5.
They got off to a good start against Chile in their opening match. The South Africans scored three tries in the first half - the first after just 27 seconds - to open up a solid 17-0 start.
Long-striding Liske Lategan raced through from the kick-off to dot down and she was followed Zanele Masuku who went over for their second try. With the SA side dominating possession and doing well at the breakdown, it was not surprise when they scored a third through Nonu Shongwe on the stroke of halftime.
Chile regrouped during the break and came out more determined in the second half. They forced the SA women on the backfoot, and this resulted in two yellow cards being showed to the team in green and gold.
PierAngela Colombo and Gail Castaneda went over as the host reduced the deficit to 17-10 with less than a minute remaining. However, the Springbok Women's Sevens team clinched the game with the final score via the lively Felicia Jacobs to win the match 22-10.
Springbok Women’s Sevens 22 (10) – Tries: Liske Lategan, Zanele Masuku, Nonu Shongwe, Felicia Jacobs. Conversion: Lategan.
Chile 10 (0) – Tries: PierAngela Colombo, Gail Castaneda.
In their second outing of the day, Kenya managed to build up a 12-5 lead at halftime by scoring twice, with SA replying with one unconverted try through Lategan.
Kenya raced away in the second stanza by scoring three tries while managing to keep the South Africans scoreless during this period.
The Kenyans are the frontrunner as group winner following their 17-15 win earlier over China, while the Chinese managed to outgun Chile 36-0 in their second match.
Springbok Women’s Sevens 5 (5) – Try: Liske Lategan.
Kenya 31 (12) - Tries: J. Musindalo Okello, G. Adhiambo Okulu Ouma (2), J. Auma Okumu (2). Conversions: G. Adhiambo Okulu Ouma (3).
China were too good for the Springbok Women’s Sevens side in their final Pool D match, which ended the South Africans' hopes of winning the tournament in Chile.
They made China fight all the way though for their 17-7 win in their third group match on the second day of the tournament.
China led 5-0 at the break following a try by Yan and then went further ahead when Xi Liu scored their second, only for South Africa to hit back with a converted try through Donelle Snyders, which reduced the deficit to 10-7.
However, the Chinese got their third and decisive try close to the end when Xu outstripped the defence for a converted try to clinch the game 17-7.
The South Africans will be back in action later during the playoffs, with their opponents yet to be determined.
Springbok Women’s Sevens 7 (0) – Try: Donelle Snyders. Conversion. Snyders
China 17 (5) – Tries: M. Yan, X. Lui, X, Xu. Conversion: Y. Gu.
Where to watch: Fans around the world can watch every match of the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series live on www.world.rugby, while in South America the action will be live streamed on ESPN’s Star+ platform.