Sevens

Powell relieved to end Blitzboks drought

2017-05-15 12:52
Neil Powell (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Blitzboks coach Neil Powell praised his players, management and support back home after the Springbok Sevens team won their fifth title of the season and won the 2016/17 World Sevens Series title in Paris on Sunday.

READ: 2 Blitzboks crack nod for Paris Dream Team

Powell added that the whole squad are grateful for this victory, which they had worked for three years.

"We are extremely grateful and blessed, the team worked for this for three seasons. Last year we came close, but this time we managed to do it," Powell said.

"I have to give the guys credit, they are an incredible group that never feared hard work and they deserve this.

"We are also lucky to have management members back home and on tour who work incredibly hard for the team and I want to thank all for that. The support we get from SA Rugby is also instrumental in our success."

Powell also thanked the supporters of the team, saying that they are trying to be a team for all the people in South Africa.

"We want to make South Africa proud and hopefully this will help towards that," the coach said.

Powell also became the first person to win the World Rugby Sevens Series as a player and as a coach.

He was part of the previous Blitzboks team that clinched the title in 2008/09 (with Paul Treu as coach) and now won it as coach of the same team he played for in 32 tournaments and captained as well during his career.

"I am much more relieved now than in 2009 when I was a player. Back then I was just happy to win it, this time there is huge relief," said Powell.

"And feeling really blessed. We are not finished though, we want to finish the series strong next week in London and keep chasing that perfect game. We have high standards and keep pushing to improve as a squad."

"The team focus has always being inwards and that contributed to their success.

"We keep the standards high and it does not matter who our opponents are, we try and play to those standards. We pride ourselves on our defense and want to be clinical on attack. We don't always get it right, but it does not stop of us from trying," Powell concluded.

Meanwhile SA Rugby President, Mark Alexander, congratulated the team with the series win.

"It is great for the team and for SA Rugby. We are really pleased," said Alexander.

"The Blitzboks have made us very proud as a nation and we want to congratulate them with this fantastic achievement. They are not only true ambassadors for our country, but true champions as well."

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