Blitsbokke are a force to be reckoned with

2014-01-28 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Not many teams can do what the Blitsbokke did when they beat the world champion sevens team New Zealand in the fifth consecutive final for International Rugby Council’s (IRC) Sevens tournament since February 2013.

The South Africans beat the All Blacks 14-7 yesterday morning in the Las Vegas sevens tournament, successfully defending their title.

The Blitsbokke also had the fewest points scored against them — just two converted tries.

Last month, during the tournament in Port Elizabeth in the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium, the Blitsbokke also gave the New Zealanders a hard time to win the match for the first time.

The win in Las Vegas was a team effort and each of the 12 Blitsbokke deserves praise.

The win gives the Blitsbokke their second title this season under new coach Neil Powell and they are now on top of the log with five tournaments left, just one point ahead of New Zealand’s 77 points.

Powell said it was an indescribable feeling to beat New Zealand twice in succession. He singled out this win and the semi-finals against Samoa.

“The way in which players like Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez put their bodies on the line to tackle their opponents shows their commitment on defence.

“This win will definitely give momentum for the next tournament in Wellington [in two weeks], where we have not fared so well in the past.”

Blitsbokke captain Kyle Brown said the players had put in a lot of effort in the Las Vegas matches, even if all the injuries almost derailed the team’s plans.

“We did exactly what we wanted to do.”

He said even with only nine players the Blitsbokke still played “in the faces of the New Zealanders” in the finals to force them to make errors.

Due to the injuries, the South Africans may have to send replacements for the runners Seabelo Senatla (ankle) and Sampie Mastriet (thigh) before the Wellington tournament starts in New Zealand.

The IRC meanwhile announced the draw for the Wellington tournament.

The Blitsbokke are in Group A with England, Wales and Portugal.

New Zealand, France, Spain and Fiji drew Group B.

Group C will have Canada, Argentina, Scotland and U.S. play each other, while Samoa, Australia, Kenya and Tonga made the draw in Group D.

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