Thunder road for Blitzbokke

2013-10-08 15:30
Neil Powell (Gallo)
Johannesburg - New Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell has had a rocky start to his tenure as coach, with wild weather hampering his team’s departure to Australia for the Gold Coast Sevens.

According to the website, Powell and the team departed Cape Town on Monday en route to the Gold Coast to take part in this weekend’s tournament – his first in charge since taking over from Paul Treu at the helm of the Bok Sevens team.

But some massive thunderstorms in Johannesburg meant the team could not land at OR Tambo airport, were forced to touch down at the Waterkloof Air Force base and eventually only made it to their destination after the flight to Sydney had left.

Now with the ensuing chaos and a number of passengers missing their flights, the team can only depart for Australia on Wednesday night, meaning a Thursday evening arrival in the Gold Coast - with the tournament starting on Saturday.

While it is less than ideal for the team, Sevens manager Sebastian Prim confirmed to that the team would continue their preparations in Johannesburg and finalise them before departing for Australia.

Once they arrive, as Prim puts it, “they will need to be ready to play” as there isn’t enough time to still prepare at that juncture.

The Sevens team were looking to leave a bit later – the Monday departure already later than the weekend departure in recent times, and with so many changes in the international Sevens fold, and a host of new coaches taking charge of the top teams, Powell will have his work cut out for him.

The new coach doesn’t seem too phased about the changes, and believes his team is built for the speedy pitch this weekend and should give a good account for themselves.

Powell has said he hasn’t made too many changes from the way the team played at the recent Rugby World Cup.

“We all agreed that the team played a great brand of rugby there, and we wanted to continue that. We have made a few minor adjustments but for the most part we have kept things the same,” he told

“The players are very comfortable with the way they play and there is a great excitement in the camp. We’re hopeful that we can do well at the Gold Coast.”

With Seabelo Senatla missing out on the tournament through injury, the speedster role goes to Sampie Mastriet, who has shown his speed when he needs to.

“Sampie is exactly the type of guy we need, we know how fast the pitch is there, and how deadly speed can be, so hopefully he will have a good chance to show his skills when he gets the ball.”

South Africa have a tough pool with England, France and Spain in their line-up. England are now coached by their former Sevens captain Simon Amor.

Read more on:    blitzbokke  |  neil powell  |  rugby

What To Read Next


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
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk


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...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

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.