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Blitzboks coach says SA can win one of three remaining tournaments
- Updated: April 11, 2016
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell applauded his players for their efforts after the team finished third at the 2016 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in Hong Kong on Sunday and feels that another victory in the remaining three tournaments of the overall HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is within their grasp.
The team reached their seventh consecutive semi-final in the series on Sunday, but have only once (in Cape Town) converted that into a tournament win.
‘We are South Africans, so will never be happy with third or second, but I think we are playing well at the moment. The guys have grafted really hard over the last three, four months and we need a result to keep our motivation up,’ Powell said.
‘I know the guys will keep on working hard, keep their heads up and we will get over that line soon. The new guys showed they wanted to be part of the team and I can only applaud the effort from the team.’
The South Africans have won 22 of their last 30 matches in the series, but did slip into third position on the overall HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. The Hong Kong Sevens winner, Fiji (128), extended their lead six points over the Springbok Sevens (122), while the beaten finalists, New Zealand (123) moved past South Africa into second place.
After winning their quarter-finals clash against the USA 28-0 early on Sunday morning in the Hong Kong National Stadium, the Blitzboks were edged 12-7 by New Zealand in the semifinal. The match went into sudden death, with the winners scoring in the second half of that. South Africa then beat Australia in the third place final 14-12.
Stats from Hong Kong tournament:
Most tackles made overall: Cecil Afrika (21).
Most line-breaks (SA only): Ruhan Nel (6).
Most tries (SA only): Seabelo Senatla (5).
Cecil Afrika extended his Springbok Sevens record for points in the series to 1044.
Seabelo Senatla moved to 12th on the all-time try scoring list with (139).
Senatla (240) is the team’s top points scorer this season (third overall), followed by Justin Geduld (207, fifth overall).
HSBC Singapore Sevens
The Blitzboks will face Kenya, Scotland and Russia in pool C of the Singapore Sevens next weekend. The South Africans had Scotland and Russia in their pool in Hong Kong as well, winning 31-0 and 50-0 respectively.
The rest of the pools are:
A: Fiji, England, Samoa, Portugal.
B: New Zealand, USA, France, Canada
D: Australia, Wales, Argentina, Japan.
The top five teams on the log after seven tournaments are:
1 Fiji 128
2 New Zealand 123
3 South Africa 122
4 Australia 105
5 USA 88