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Ian Muir photo

South Africa pulled away from the United States in the Pool D finale Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium to claim a 29-0 win and clean sheet through group play. The result sets the Blitzboks up with a Cup quarterfinal match with New Zealand.

The Eagles finished pool play 1-1-1, eking through to the top eight for a record seventh-straight tournament. Canada’s loss to Wales the game prior sealed the USA’s Cup berth. The Eagles will face Kenya, which shut the All Blacks out in the Pool A finale earlier in the day.

The first four minutes were tense, with the United States playing defense then entire time and the Blitzboks struggling to find a gap. Ultimately, it was a penalty against Folau Niua for coming in from the side of a ruck that allowed Chris Dry to find space in the corner. The conversion was missed, making it 5-0.

The Eagles took the restart, but they couldn’t hold onto the ball long enough to mount any kind of attack. Without letting them get out of their half, the Springboks won the ball back, and it was back-to-back violent steps by Justin Geduld which created the try for Seabelo Senatla on the wing. This conversion was good, putting the Americans down 12 at halftime.

In a fluke happenstance at the onset of the second half, both Perry Baker and Will Holder went down after collisions while Senatla cruised over for a score. Holder caught a knee to the head and stayed on the turf for an extended period. The score put the Boks up 17-0.

South Africa would put in two more tries in the second half against a defeated American side to put an exclamation point on the win.