Sevens

Proud Powell praises Blitzboks fighting spirit

2017-03-06 08:01
Neil Powell (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - It was not the most clinical of performances, but the fact that they were able to come back every time when the chips were down, was the most pleasing aspect of the Blitzboks win at the Las Vegas Sevens, says Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell.

The winning coach was a proud and happy man after his squad beat Fiji 19-12 in the final to win a third consecutive World Rugby Sevens Series tournament title and a fourth in the season.

"I am very happy. It was not our most clinical performance of the season at all, but we got the result and that is what was important. I would rather win ugly than lose pretty," the coach admitted.

"The guys showed tremendous fighting spirit and always managed to come back and score the tries we needed to win the matches. They kept their focus and played very well in the second half of the matches, never giving up."

The Blitzboks travelled to North America without stalwarts Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga Smith, but still managed to claim top honours. Both are playing Super Rugby.

"I thought Siviwe Soyizwapi and Dylan Sage did very well in taking over the roles of those two stalwarts. We are pretty blessed with our depth in the squad. It is good for the players also to realise that the structure is a sound one and as long as they look after it, the better the structure will look after them," Powell explained.

He was pleased that they could extend the lead on the overall points’ log, but warns that half of the tournaments in the series still need to be played.

"We are in a good position, but we need to maintain our form and cannot think that things will just happen for us from now on. We need to stay grounded and start afresh, as we will need to do in Vancouver next weekend."

The draw for the Vancouver Sevens was announced as well, with South Africa to face Chile, Kenya and England in Pool A.

Selected team facts:

- The Blitzboks have now won 28 of their last 30 matches played. England and Fiji (23) are next best in this regard.

- They are also the leading try scorers at the halfway mark of the series, with 129 tries at an average of 4.3 per match. The Fijians (126) are in second place and England (97) third.

- Cecil Afrika extended his overall Springbok Sevens career points' scoring record to 1 183 points and also moved into ninth on the overall log.

- Chris Dry (93), Philip Snyman (81) and Werner Kok (76) are the top three tacklers in the series thus far. Seabelo Senatla leads the series in linebreaks (40) and tries (32)

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