The Blitzboks lost their final Pool A fixture 19-5 to series leaders, Argentina, in their first match on Saturday, but still booked a spot in the Cup quarter-finals, where they came desperately close to beating Fiji, but suffered a 14-12 defeat in a match that could have gone either way.

With every log point in HSBC SVNS 2024 crucial, the Blitzboks will still need to put their best foot forward on Sunday when they face France at 09h24 (SA time) in the fifth-place semi-final.

The Blitzboks started well against Argentina, with Quewin Nortje finishing in the corner, after a long pass by Ryan Oosthuizen put him in space.

At that stage, Los Pumas were a man down due to a yellow card, but once their full complement of players was restored, the South Americans slowly worn down the Blitzboks, scoring two unanswered tries for a 14-5 lead at the break before adding another close to the final whistle to seal the deal.

The Blitzboks only had themselves to blame for the defeat as their handling let them down in this match and often nullified the momentum they created.

Against Fiji, an early setback rocked the Blitzboks when Nortje pulled up with a leg muscle injury. Play continued for close to two minutes with the winger desperately trying to contribute despite hobbling on one leg.

Shortly thereafter, Ryan Oosthuizen scored in the corner as the Blitzboks started to dominate play, but they conceded a lot of penalties which kept Fiji in the game.

The Fijians scored early in the second half when an alignment error from the restart gave the big South Sea Islanders an opportunity to pick up momentum. A converted try gave them the lead for the first time, but that did not last long.

Replacement flyhalf Tristan Leyds sold a lovely dummy to the Fiji defence and skirted through to score. He converted his own try, and the lead was back in the Blitzboks’ favour.

From the restart though, James Murphy was yellow carded for playing an opponent in the air. With a defender short, the Fijian attack outworked their opponents to score what proved to be the decisive points in the match.

Blitzbok captain Selvyn Davids said they had no excuses: “That yellow card was unfortunate, but that was not why we lost today. Credit to Fiji who played their hearts out. We came close, but maybe we kicked too much possession away when we had the ball. I am very proud of the effort though, the guys really played for the jersey.”


Argentina 19 (14), South Africa 5 (5)
SA - Try: Quewin Nortje.
Argentina - Joaquin Pellandini, Rodrigo Isgro, Marcos Moneta. Conversions: Pellandini (2).

South Africa 12 (5), Fiji 14 (0)
SA - Tries: Ryan Oosthuizen, Tristan Leyds. Conversion: Leyds.
Fiji - Tries: Terio Tamani, Rere Ropate. Conversions: Tamani (2).