Defence was key to victory

2014-12-09 00:00

THE Springbok Sevens side have turned their season around after winning the Dubai Sevens this weekend.

Having finished fourth at the 2015 HSBC Sevens Series opener on the Gold Coast in Australia, Neil Powell’s charges pulled together a string of solid wins in the blistering heat of Dubai to get back on track in the series standings.

As it stands, South Africa are now second (37 points) behind leaders Fiji (39 points) while Australia (28 points) are third on the series standings.

After breezing through the Dubai pool stages beating Canada, Portugal and Wales, the Blitsbokke went from strength to strength in the playoff matches. They beat Argentina 40-0 in the quarter-final clash before meeting the dreaded New Zealand side in the semis.

So great was the Blitsbokke’s defence that the New Zealanders, who are renowned for their outstanding attacking play, could not find a reply for the South Africans’ four tries. The Blitsbokke progressed to the final beating the old enemy 28-0.

They then conceded the only try of the day in the cup final against Australia. The Australians’ score did little to help them as South Africa went on to win the match 33-7.

Blitsbokke captain Kyle Brown, who returned in Dubai after an injury layoff, praised his charges for their outstanding work on defence.

“The guys were incredible this week. Maybe we didn’t hit our full straps on Friday but Saturday was incredible. There was so much energy and attitude, particularly in the defensive line. I think that’s what defined us our character and energy on defence. We made it very difficult for teams to attack against us,” Brown said after the victory.

A number of youngsters also stepped up to the plate during the tournament. Seabelo Senatla was outstanding and Ruhan Nel played well but young Kwagga Smith’s hat-trick against New Zealand summed up the brilliant depth in the side.

“I really enjoyed the role of playing off the bench this weekend and its makes it a lot easier when you have capable guys like Kwagga. In that semi-final, to score a hat-trick in that first half — I could have sat back and watched the whole tournament,” Brown said.

The captain’s words ring true as fans were thoroughly entertained by a complete team performance throughout the tournament. The Blitsbokke’s depth was once again vital with the likes of Cheslin Kolbe and Warrick Gelant coming off the bench alongside Brown to keep up the team’s tempo.

Another standout was 21-year-old Werner Kok, who seems to be a star of the future after being named player of the tournament.

“I just think the way that we did, from the quarter to the final and the way we handled the matches and the way we played ranks pretty high up there — it’s one of our most clinical performances,” the captain said.

The next order of business is the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens this weekend in Port Elizabeth. Coach Powell is hoping his side will carry their performance into the third stop of the Sevens tour.

“It’s always nice to be back at home and play in front of your home crowd. Hopefully we can take this momentum into PE and be successful there as well,” Powell said.

The Blitsbokke have been drawn in Pool A alongside USA, Wales and Kenya for this weekend’s tournament.

“The guys were incredible this week. Maybe we didn’t hit our full straps on Friday but Saturday was incredible.”

Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens Pools

Pool A

South Africa, Kenya, USA, Wales

Pool B

Australia, Argentina, Portugal, Zimbabwe

Pool C

Fiji, Scotland, France, Canada

Pool D

New Zealand, Samoa, England, Japan

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.