Bok Sevens bank on Afrika

2010-12-09 08:56
Cecil Afrika (Gallo)
Johannesburg - South Africa will bank on speedster Cecil Afrika to get their IRB World Sevens Series challenge back on track Friday when  George hosts the two-day second leg.

The green and gold surrendered a 14-point advantage when losing 21-19 to Fiji in a Dubai quarter-final last weekend when the eight-leg 2010-2011 championship kicked off.

England emerged as surprise victors in the Middle East, defeating Samoa 29-21 in the decider after eliminating pre-tournament favourites and Commonwealth Games gold medalists New Zealand in the semi-finals.

Now the Springboks want to steal the limelight from the English before their supporters at compact Outeniqua Park and coach Paul Treu believes leading Dubai points scorer Afrika can play a key role.

"Cecil works very hard in training and listens to advice from the management and more experienced players around him. He is an unselfish character and this makes him a good team player," the coach told reporters.

Afrika won rave reviews after scoring 10 tries before capacity 40 000 crowds in the United Arab Emirates, but deflected praise heaped on a footballer playing only his second season of sevens.

"We are one big family and I still have much to learn. I become quite embarrassed when people single out individuals because this is a team sport," admitted the 22-year-old native of Port Elizabeth.

"I was just grateful to be in the right place at the right time on the field to score all those tries in the Middle East after my team-mates had done the hard work."

South Africa are top seeds in Group D which includes Portugal, who upset England 14-12 in the group phase last weekend, Argentina and Zimbabwe and should advance to the Saturday quarter-finals by filling a top-two place.

Argentina lost all three group games in Dubai while the only victory achieved by Zimbabwe was against the South Americans and Portugal will be favoured to advance with the host nation.

There will be repeats of both first-leg semi-finals at the mini-league phase with England and New Zealand in Group C beside Dubai Shield winners Kenya and Russia.

England boast Ben Gollings, whose 2391 points is an IRB sevens record, and coach Ben Ryan hopes his "relaxed and ruthless" squad can build on a victory that secured 24 championship points.

New Zealand handler Gordon Tietjens, who has been at the helm for 17 years, says the days of his country and Fiji dominating the high-octane abbreviated form of rugby union are over.

"The world series have become so unpredictable with six or seven teams capable of winning any leg of the championship. My feeling is Fiji are the sleeping giant this year," he said.

Fiji get a chance to avenge a three-point semi-final loss to Samoa in Group B completed by the United States and Namibia while Group A comprises Australia, Scotland, Wales and France.



Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Who is your favourite South African rugby commentator - English or Afrikaans?

Love 2 Meet

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.