Veteran forward Frankie Horne scored his 50th try for South Africa on day one in PE – Photo: IRB/Martin Seras Lima
– Rugby Sevens honours Mandela on special day in PE
– Hosts South Africa one of four unbeaten sides
– Mandela tribute VNR made available for download
On an emotionally-charged day in Port Elizabeth, tournament hosts South Africa matched Argentina, Fiji and New Zealand in winning all three of their matches on the opening day of the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa Sevens.
Inspired by a passionate home support, the Blitzbokke won their opening match against Canada after observing a moment’s silence for the late former South African President, Nelson Mandela. Later in the day the home side was joined by all 15 other national sides for the singing of the country’s national anthem and a minute’s silence as Rugby honoured the memory of Nelson Mandela in the stadium that fittingly bears his name.
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“I would love to give you an explanation but my words wouldn’t do it justice. It’s a real honour and a privilege to be a South African today,” said captain, Kyle Brown.
Neil Powell, South Africa’s coach added: “It’s been an emotional weekend and the guys are really feeding off the atmosphere inside the stadium today. It is a privilege to play here this weekend.”
The South Africans line up in Saturday’s Cup quarter-finals against Portugal, who recorded a shock 28-17 victory against Wales and a 33-17 win over the USA. In the other last eight matches in the Cup Fiji play Samoa, New Zealand face Kenya and Argentina play France.
After a competitive pool campaign, Australia, Wales and England will all contest the Bowl on day two. Australia play Zimbabwe, Wales face Canada, England will play Scotland and Spain line up against the USA.