Blitzbokke face NZ in final

2014-02-08 09:11
Neil Powell (File)

Johannesburg - The Springbok Sevens side will face New Zealand in a final once again as they attempt to win their third consecutive title on this year’s HSBC World Series.

According to the website, the Blitzbokke overcame a significant psychological hurdle as they downed Fiji in the rain 10-0 to set up the third consecutive showdown with the All Blacks – this time in their own backyard – in the Wellington Sevens tournament Saturday.

While Neil Powell’s team may have won the finals in Port Elizabeth and Las Vegas, this one will be up against a fiercely partisan crowd and a New Zealand side bent on revenge to reverse a five game losing streak against the Blitzbokke.

It will also give the winner the top spot on the World Series rankings – as South Africa currently lead the Kiwis by one point.

But while all eyes will focus on the showdown, which will take place at 10:30, Powell will already be pleased with the consistency that the side has shown thus far, but also the fact that they managed to rattle the Fijian side – one which they struggle against.

To be honest, while Powell’s team have been accurate and have won through to the final, it has been anything but pretty. Both their 10-0 victories over Australia in the quarterfinals and Fiji in the semis were built on hard work and determination, and solid defence which stifled the other two sides.

This time it was Sampie Mastriet and Cecil Afrika who scored to seal the game, but in the rain and wet, it was hardly a classic.

Still, Powell’s side are in their fourth final in five tournaments, a consistency he set as a goal for the team when he took over.

New Zealand won through to the final by demolishing defending champions England 26-0 in an ill-mannered match.


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