Sevens

5 talking points: Cape Town Sevens

2017-12-11 07:55
Seabelo Senatla (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points following the Cape Town Sevens:

1. Senatla joins exclusive ‘200 club’

Arguably the highlight from a South African perspective was speedster Seabelo Senatla reaching the 200-try landmark during the tournament.

Senatla achieved this feat in Saturday’s pool game against France, which the Blitzboks won 31-5.

Senatla, who was playing his 35th tournament, is only the fifth man in the history of the World Rugby Sevens Series to reach this milestone - the others are Dan Norton (England, 272), Collins Injera (Kenya, 246), Santiago Gomez Cora (Argentina, 230) and Ben Gollings (England, 220).

2. Great Blitzboks escape

While South African rugby fans will be disappointed seeing the Blitzboks only claim bronze, they’ll no doubt remember the gallant fightback against Fiji in Sunday's Cup quarter-finals.

The Blitzboks faced a tricky first knockout encounter due to Fiji unexpectedly losing to Canada in pool play on Saturday.

The Fijians led for most parts but the fighting spirit of the Blitzboks, spurred on by boisterous home support, saw them sneak a victory at the death.

Fiji raced into a 14-0 lead after just 90 seconds and led 21-5 just before the break. The hosts pulled the score back to 21-17, before the Fijians again silenced the capacity crowd with a try to lead 26-17 with just over two minutes remaining.

Late tries from Kwagga Smith and Senatla saw the stadium erupt as the Blitzboks pulled off a memorable win.

It however appeared to take too much out of them for the semi-final against New Zealand, which they lost 19-12.

3. Never write off any New Zealand team!

It was interesting to note that several pundits had written off the All Blacks Sevens before the Cape Town leg.

This was despite them making the final of the previous weekend's Dubai Sevens.

South Africa and England were punted as the favourites and when the Kiwis were beaten 22-0 by America on Saturday, no-one gave them a chance.

However, they responded in typical All Black fashion by beating both pre-tournament favourites en route to the title.

New Zealand finished fourth in last season’s world series but it would be silly to assume that a country with so much talent would be content to only make up the numbers.

The All Blacks Sevens now top the overall standings heading into the Sydney Sevens from January 26-28.

Be warned. Never write off a team with 12 world titles to its name.

4. Reward for Blitzboks skipper

Senatla was the talk of Cape Town but was not named in the Dream Team for this past weekend’s event.

However, his captain Philip Snyman did crack the nod.

Snyman is a player who perhaps flies under the radar but it was welcome to see his hard work rewarded.

Snyman leads by example with his work-ethic and calm demeanour.

The Blitzboks appear a happy bunch under his leadership.

5. Cape Town a winner to host Sevens

Tickets for this year’s Cape Town Sevens sold out in mere hours and the event was arguably the sporting highlight of the South African year.

With all due respect to a city like George, but it’s hard to believe that SA Rugby was able to host the event there for nine seasons - at a relatively small venue.

It moved to Port Elizabeth for four seasons, before finding a home in Cape Town from the 2015/16 season.

The popularity of the event at Cape Town Stadium has prompted SA Rugby to bid for it to be staged here for three more seasons - until 2021.

Last season’s Cape Town Sevens was awarded the 'Best Live Sport Experience in South Africa' at the Discovery Sport Industry Awards and don’t be surprised if it scoops the award again.

The continued popularity of the event at Cape Town Stadium adds fuel to the fire for those in favour of WP Rugby moving its home away from Newlands to Green Point...

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