Blitzbokke finish season as runners-up

2015-05-18 07:08
Neil Powell (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Springbok Sevens team on Sunday finished the 2014/2015 Sevens World Series as Plate finalist at the London Sevens, but more importantly bagged Olympic Games qualification in Rio de Janeiro for 2016 and a second spot overall on the season log.

The team had a chance to clinch the series at Twickenham on Sunday when they faced eventual winners Fiji in the Cup quarter-finals, but came up short 19-7, resulting in the South Sea island team winning the 2014/15 overall title.

A 28-7 win over Scotland in the semi-finals secured a consecutive Plate Final but unlike Glasgow a week ago, the Blitzbokke lost to 26-14 New Zealand.

The result confirmed the overall second place on the series log, with New Zealand finishing in third place overall and England fourth. The USA won the final, beating Australia 45-22 to win their first ever title on the circuit.

Fiji, South Africa, New Zealand and England secured qualification for the Rugby Sevens at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell afterwards said that their attack was not good enough against Fiji.

“We showed a lot of spirit and determination on defence, but made a number of errors on attack and that cost us," said Powell. "We kicked away possession and lost balls in contact and that was the difference.

“We played well against Scotland and I decided to give newer members of the squad such as Carel du Preez and Ruhan Nel a chance to play against New Zealand in the Plate final so that they can experience what it is like at that level.

"We did not play well though, but I am happy for the players getting the exposure.”

Powell admitted that two defeats to Fiji in as many weeks, which resulted in Fiji clinching the overall title, hurt.

“We are not happy about that. We were leading coming into the last two tournaments, but could not keep Fiji out and that is disappointing. We will have to find a way to play against them differently, as we are not getting the results," said Powell.

“Congratulations to Fiji, as they showed they really wanted this and proved it on the field. They are a great side.

“I am pleased with our performance in the series though. Our main aim was to qualify for the Olympics and in the end it was just a lack of composure that cost us the series title. We have a lot to be proud of.

“The big lesson we have learned was that every game is as important as the next and a mistake you make in Las Vegas can cost you in London.”

The Springbok Sevens team had a stellar series, reaching seven consecutive semi-finals and winning finals in Dubai and Port Elizabeth, as well as contesting the final in Tokyo.

Springbok Sevens flyer Seabelo Senatla finished the season as leading try scorer with 47 tries.

During the season, Cecil Afrika (1019) also passed Fabian Juries (925) as the highest points scorer ever for the Blitzbokke.

The team will arrive back in South Africa on Tuesday.

The final standings (Top 10) of the 2014/15 Sevens World Series:

1.       Fiji 164

2.       South Africa 154

3.       New Zealand 152

4.       England 132

5.       Australia 120

6.       USA 108

7.       Scotland 89

8.       Argentina 80

9.       Canada 67

10.   Samoa 64


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
Comments have been closed for this article.


Of the current crop of rugby commentators - across all languages - who is your favourite?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

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