The Blitzboks took a while to get going, but their class shone through as they scored three second-half tries to beat Argentina 25-10 and advance to the Sydney Sevens quarter-finals on Saturday.
In fact, both teams battled to get going at the new venue, Spotless Stadium, making a number of handling errors and with gritty scrambling defence keeping the respective attacks at bay.
But it was Argentina who opened the scoring through Renzo Barbier just before the break, when he stepped past Zain Davids and powered over JC Pretorius for a 5-0 lead.
The South Africans had time to level the scores, though, as Chris Dry forced his way through a ruck near the halfway line and popped the ball up to a flying Siviwe Soyizwapi, who had too much pace for the cover defence.
Argentina were difficult to shake off, having already beaten Australia 29-14 in their first match.
But the Blitzboks’ relentless tackling disrupted the Argentinians’ rhythm with ball-in-hand.
The South Africans also displayed their superior skill, with Justin Geduld putting through a superb grubber in the tackle, and the ball sat up perfectly for Soyizwapi to run in his second try.
Neil Powell’s team stepped up their intensity on attack, with Zain Davids snaffling the ball off the ground and finding Selvyn Davids, who raced through from deep inside his own half to make it 15-5.
Rodrigo Etchart hit back for Argentina soon afterwards to reduce the deficit to five points, but the South Africans rounded off the victory with a sensational solo effort from Geduld, and a final five-pointer by Stedman Gans.
In their first match, the Blitzboks thrashed Tonga 45-5, but may have paid the price for the victory as captain Philip Snyman picked up a big cut under his left eye after an attempted tackle.
Snyman did not play against Argentina, and sported a bandage on the cut.
The Blitzboks’ final Pool D game is against Australia at 11.23am SA time.
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) February 2, 2019
Blitzboks 25 – Siviwe Soyizwapi (2), Selvyn Davids, Justin Geduld, Stedman Gans.
Argentina 10 – Tries: Renzo Barbier, Rodrigo Etchart.