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Springboks head coach Neil Powell makes history, MyPlayers
Springboks head coach Neil Powell makes history, MyPlayers

Neil Powell makes sevens history

Neil Powell became the first person to win the Sevens World Series title as a player and coach when the Springbok Sevens sealed the 2016-17 crown in Paris last weekend.

The Springbok Sevens team won their fifth title of the season and took an unassailable lead in the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Paris on Sunday and will be crowned champions next week when the series concludes with the HSBC London Sevens at Twickenham.

This saw Neil Powell achieve a first in the sevens world as he’s now won the series as coach and player. He was part of the South African squad that won the 2008-09 World Series.

“I am much more relieved now than in 2009 when I was a player. Back then I was just happy to win it, this time there is huge relief,” said Powell.

“And we’re feeling really blessed. We are not finished though… we want to finish the series strong next week in London and keep chasing that perfect game. We have high standards and keep pushing to improve as a squad.”

Powell added that the Blitzboks players deserve praise for their consistent performances throughout the season, which saw South Africa claim gold in Dubai, Wellington, Sydney, Las Vegas and Paris. The team also featured in sevens out of eight finals this season.

“I have to give the guys credit, they are an incredible group that never feared hard work and they deserve this,” said Powell.

“We are also lucky to have management members back home and on tour who work incredibly hard for the team and I want to thank all for that. The support we get from SA Rugby is also instrumental in our success.”

With one more tournament in London this weekend, Powell said the Springbok Sevens are focused on finishing the season on a high.

“We want to make South Africa proud and hopefully this will help towards that,” said Powell. “We keep the standards high and it does not matter who our opponents are, we try and play to those standards. We pride ourselves on our defence and want to be clinical on attack. We don’t always get it right, but it does not stop of us from trying.”

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