The South Africans started their campaign late on Friday evening (SA time) brightly by beating New Zealand 21-12 but could not bring the same energy to their second match against Great Britain, losing 17-12. They received a losing bonus point though, something that could work in the Blitzboks' favour should they get past Ireland at 23h05 (SA time) later on Saturday, and New Zealand beat Great Britain.

Great Britain, who outplayed Ireland earlier, top the pool with South Africa second, while New Zealand and Ireland will be desperate for a win against Great Britain and the Blitzboks respectively to advance to the last eight.

Against New Zealand, an early try by Selvyn Davids handed the momentum to his team, but New Zealand replied soon after when Cody Vai raced through. Tristan Leyds extended the lead to 14-5 just before the break with a well-taken try.

Davids struck early in the second half as well and his converted effort gave his side a 21-5 lead before a late try by Vai edged his team closer, but it was too little, too late.

Great Britain scored twice in the opening three minutes of their match against South Africa and kept the Blitzboks on the back foot for the remainder of the half.

Shilton van Wyk scored just before the break to cut the lead to seven points with seven minutes to play. A try by Robbie Ferguson pushed GB's lead out to 17-5 four minutes from time and although Impi Visser scored a converted try with a minute to go, the Blitzboks left their comeback effort too late.

Pool standings (and points' difference) with one match left: 

  1. Great Britain 6 (+8)
  2. South Africa 4 (+4)
  3. New Zealand 3 (-4)
  4. Ireland 2 (-8)


South Africa 21 (14), New Zealand 12 (5)
- Tries: Selvyn Davids (2), Tristan Leyds. Conversions: Davids (2), Leyds.
NZ - Tries: Cody Vai (2). Conversion: Akuila Rokolisoa.

South Africa 12 (5), Great Britain 17 (12)
- Tries: Shilton van Wyk, Impi Visser. Conversion: Justin Geduld.
GB - Tries: Ethan Waddleton, Tom Williams, Robbie Ferguson. Conversion: Kaleem Barreto.