Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, was pretty pleased with the efforts from his Blitzboks squad following their North American trip of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
The team secured 41 of a possible 44 log points on offer, made both finals in Las Vegas and Vancouver and won the USA leg. The team also maintained their strong lead in the series.
“If anyone offered me that before the trip, I would have taken it,’ Powell said. From that perspective, it was a very good trip for us.”
The Blitzboks did suffer on the injury front and according to the coach, this could impact on the experience factor when they travel to the next two tournaments, in Hong Kong and Singapore next month.
“We have a short turn-around and in two and a half weeks we will be on our way to Hong Kong again. We still need to do medicals, but it seems that we will lose a number of players and might need to travel to Hong Kong with a much younger squad. We have some hard work ahead of us,” Powell said.
The coach was not impressed with the team’s effort on Sunday in Vancouver though.
“Today we did not play well though. We started well against Canada, but that was our only proper performance. To be honest with ourselves, we were not clinical enough on attack and did not keep the ball long enough before being turned over again. We used one of our opportunities, but all three times we surrendered possession unnecessarily, England scored. You cannot win finals playing like that and you cannot expect to beat a good team like England playing like that.”
England are the only side to have beaten the Blitzboks this year, beating them in Cape Town, Wellington and now in Vancouver. The teams also played to a draw yesterday in pool play.
“It does seem that we have a problem against England. We will have to go and look how and where to do things better when we face them,” Powell admitted.
Springbok Sevens captain, Philip Snyman, gave credit to the effort by England in the final, where they beat the Blitzboks 19-7.
“They really played well. They put 40 past Fiji in the semis and had our number today, so credit to them. No one plays in a final for second place, so we are disappointed, but England deserved to win.”
Snyman pointed to turnover possession as the main difference in the final. “We gave them the ball three times and they scored three times. That is just not good enough.”
The trip will still be remembered for the positives, he insisted.
“Overall though, we had two great tournaments and achieved a lot. We realise that hard work waits before we go to Hong Kong, but we will be ready for it. I am pretty proud of what we achieved and players and management really showed fantastic work ethic and spirit. We did this as a team and for each other, but also wanted to make our supporters proud of our efforts. I think we achieved that.”
The Blitzboks arrive in Cape Town Wednesday morning. The Hong Kong tournament starts on 7 April.