Open rugby: Team GB 19 South Africa 10
Team GB completed back-to-back wins with a deserved 19-10 victory over highly-fancied South Africa at the Wingate Institute in Netanya on Tuesday evening at Day Three of the Maccabiah Games.
Captained by Aaron Liffchak, they booked their place in the semi-finals with another powerful display with London Welsh youngster Sam Katz recording another 11-point haul.
Having beaten Australia 16-6 in their opener, GB forced the Aussies on to the back foot early on. South Africa conceded several penalties although Katz’s first kick fell short of the target.
An uncharacteristic error-strewn first half from South Africa was punished on 15 minutes when Katz, 18, sent a second penalty over the posts.
South Africa went ahead against the run of play when they crashed over the GB line. The conversion was successful to give them a 7-3 lead after 26 minutes.
Katz hauled GB to within a point with his second successful kick before the left boot of Saul Zulman failed with a penalty of his own. Zulman made amends minutes later but SA scored a penalty of their own to go in 10-6 ahead at half time.
It was soon 10-9 as golden boy Katz scored another penalty and Zulman joined him on the scoresheet with another that that scraped over.
GB pushed on and Zulman took centre stage when a kick over the SA defence was bundled over the line. Katz converted to make it 11 points for the second consecutive match, making it 19-10 to GB.
Zulman missed another penalty minutes later but it mattered not as the best team won.
GB head coach Simon Culley said after the game: “We’ve played two, won two against Australia and South Africa which is a hell of a start. This is a proper team. We’re outlasting teams and I couldn’t be prouder of the boys.”
Keeping the team’s feet on the ground, he added: “But we haven’t won anything yet.”
Captain Liffchak said: “This is only the beginning. We want gold and nothing less. We will continue to give everything for the gold.”
GB will play Israel or the USA in the last four on Sunday.
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