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SA Sevens rugby shining on all fronts
- Updated: December 22, 2014
The HSBC World Sevens Series tournaments in Dubai recently was not just the Blitzboks’ 20th tournament victory in the series, but also showcased the depth of Sevens rugby in South Africa.
Eunice Visagie writes that Kyle Brown and his team won the Dubai 7s in what was by some described as the most dominant performance ever by a team.
In the quarter-finals, the Blitzboks beat Argentina 40-0 and then Kwagga Smith scored a hat-trick in the steamroller performance against New Zealand (28-0) in the semi-finals.
The final was initially a tight battle, but in the second half coach Neil Powell’s players took control and won 33-7. ‘It was an amazing tournament. I believe it was our defence that was decisive. Our defence and of course the team’s character. The way we won the tournament makes it one of the best wins ever. We were clinically especially against New Zealand, and one cannot help but to enjoy it,’ Brown said afterwards.
But it was not only Smith’s hat-trick, Werner Kok’s Player of the Tournament performance and Seabelo Senatla’s incredible speed that made Dubai a South African success.
On one of the fields next to the main stadium the Springbok Sevens Academy team won the International Invitation Tournament as the Samurai’s. And as the Blitzboks they beat a team from Australia to win the tournament.
This victory came just days after the Academy team won the African Cup in Zimbabwe. In that tournament the team won eight games. In Dubai they were undefeated again.
Marius Schoeman, a former player, is responsible for the next generation of players. Schoeman – head coach of the Academy team – works with Powell at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport where the Springbok Sevens squad is based.
‘I’m very proud of the players. The tournaments showed the depth of talent in South Africa and that the Academy programme is now starting to show results. It was also pleasing to see how well Kwagga (Smith), Werries (Werner Kok), Cheslin (Kolbe) and Ruhan (Nel) – all from the structures of the Academy – played,’ said Schoeman.
The Blitzboks followed the victory up with another in Port Elizabeth and are now leaders of the HSBC World Series. The top four teams in the World Series automatically qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games and Sevens will be part of the Olympic programme for the first time in Rio.