The defending Dubai champions outplayed Samoa (22-14), Canada (35-14) and New Zealand (21-19) in pulsating games, with several positives flowing from the SA performances.
Two of those were the return to the team of Rosko Specman and the introduction of speedy Quewin Nortje to the already fleet-footed Blitzboks squad.

Specman was a busy body all day and Nortje scored a brace against Canada, showing his raw pace to all interested parties and added another against New Zealand.

The Blitzboks had been on the back foot in their opening match against Samoa, but that lasted all but two minutes. Samoa, who won had four of the last five encounters between the sides, kept the ball alive in that period and finally broke through the SA defence to score the opening try.

The comeback was swift and brutal as Christie Grobbelaar brushed aside defenders at will to score the opening try of the weekend for his team. When pressing defence resulted in a Samoan fumble, Specman used his soccer skills to pounce and score his first try at the venue since 2020.
Samoa tackled Shilton van Wyk in the air and was yellow carded for that, only for the centre to add extra punishment with a sniping break and score under the posts. Justin Geduld converted for a 17-7 lead at the break.

The Islanders pulled one back four minutes from time, but Impi Visser scored soon after to settle the nerves and confirmed the win. Visser's try came on the back of a strong Ryan Oosthuizen run.
Van Wyk set the tone against Canada in the second pool game, intercepting a pass early in the game and scoring under the posts. Grobbelaar extended the lead to 14 when he ran onto a Specman kick ahead and when captain Selvyn Davids finished off his own grubber in behind the Canadian defence, South Africa held a well-deserved 21-0 lead at the break.

Canada scored first in the second half, but all comeback thoughts were dispelled by a wonderful brace by Nortje. His first came from a quick tap and the second from a long probing kick by Dewald Human. That stretched the lead to 35-7 and although Canada pulled one back at the death, the match was already settled.

New Zealand started strongly against South Africa, with two tries (one converted) in the opening minutes. The 12-0 lead was cut to five when some crisp passing by the inside backs gave Nortje space to run. A third try by New Zealand, following some good support play, pushed the lead to 19-7 at the break.

The second half was anything but one-sided, but the only two tries came from South Africa.
Ronald Brown rounded off a sustained attacking spell by the Blitzboks and converted his own try as he did when Masande Mtshali ran a great line of a quick tap penalty from Selvyn Davids, to seal the match.
It was Mtshali's first try for the Blitzboks in six tournaments, but could not have come at a better time.

Quewin Nortje on the run at the Dubai Sevens

Quewin Nortje on the run at the Dubai Sevens

Scoring summary:
South Africa 22 (17), Samoa 14 (7)
SA - Tries: Christie Grobbelaar, Rosko Specman, Shilton van Wyk, Impi Visser. Conversion: Justin Geduld.
Samoa - Tries: Faafoi Falaniko, Taunuu Niulevea. Conversions: Pelasio Samuelu Niuula.

South Africa 35 (21), Canada 14 (0)
SA - Tries: Shilton van Wyk, Christie Grobbelaar, Selvyn Davids, Quewin Nortje (2). Conversions: Justin Geduld (3), Dewald Human (2).
Canada - Tries: Kalin Sager, Lachlan Kratz. Conversions: Cooper Coats, Kratz.

Springbok Sevens 21 (19), New Zealand 19 (19).
SA - Tries: Quewin Nortje, Ronald Brown, Masande Mtshali. Conversions: Justin Geduld, Ronald Brown (2).
NZ - Tries: Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Moses Leo, Tepaea Cook Savage. Conversions: Cook Savage (2).