Blitzboks players celebrate after defeating Kenya to win the championship final at the HSBC Canada Sevens rugby tournament, in Vancouver, B.C. Photo: Canadian Press/Shutterstock
Blitzboks players celebrate after defeating Kenya to win the championship final at the HSBC Canada Sevens rugby tournament, in Vancouver, B.C. Photo: Canadian Press/Shutterstock

Blitzboks coach Neil Powell pleased the team ’delivered’ in Canada

By Wynona Louw Time of article published Sep 20, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell has praised his squad for the way in which they claimed the title at the Canada leg of the 2021/22 World Sevens Series at the weekend.

It was South Africa’s second tournament win in Vancouver in three years as they outplayed Kenya in a 38-5 victory in the all-African final at BC Place Stadium on Sunday (Monday morning SA time).

South Africa claimed the title in commanding fashion after beating Kenya 38-5. With this victory, the Blitzboks also moved to the top of the World Series standings and will no doubt be the favourites to bag the next tournament in Edmonton next weekend.

In claiming the title, the Blitzboks delivered a masterclass throughout the weekend, with a number of impressive performances in the pool stages on Saturday, as well as Sunday’s knock-out matches. Their defensive performance was a standout, while they were also clinical when they were in possession of the ball.

In their semi-final against Great Britain, South Africa scored 19 unanswered points in the second half to record a 26-12 win and secure their place in the final.

“I am very happy and pleased with the performance the squad delivered,” said Powell.

“As a coach I could not have asked for more. The most pleasing part must be the way they played for the jersey and the way they worked for each other.

“One could sense in the preparation for the tournament already that there was a lot of commitment from the guys, and one could sense the hunger to just go out there and play. The Olympics aside, we have not played in the World Series for a year and a half, and the guys were really keen to get back at it.

“We played Spain twice and Kenya twice and won comfortably the first time around. That often creates a false sense of security, but the team did not fall into that trap and came out with an even stronger performance against those teams the second time around.”

“The performance in the final was one the players can really be proud of. They took control from the start and never allowed Kenya to have a look in. It was a massive physical effort.”

Powell went on the praise the entire team and made special mention of the four debutants. Ronald Brown, Christie Grobbelaar, Darren Adonis and Shaun Williams all experienced the World Rugby Sevens Series for the first time.

“The players deserve all the credit. They really worked hard and did everything that was expected of them. Everyone executed in their role and responsibilities,” said Powell, adding that the team’s execution on day two was spot on.

“I am also very pleased for the wider squad effort,” said Powell.

“There were massive contributions from everyone in the system – the medical staff back home, the technical staff and this again showed the great work done by our SA Rugby Sevens Academy.

“The four debutants really played well and enhanced the reputation of the Academy's ability to prepare players for the World Series. We will have a short rest and then get our minds on our next job, in Edmonton next weekend.”

Scoring summary (final and semi-final):

South Africa 38 Kenya 5

South Africa: Tries: Angelo Davids (2), Sakoyisa Makata, Christie Grobbelaar, Ronald Brown, Darren Adonis. Conversions: Dewald Human (2), Brown, Adonis.

Kenya: Try: Daniel Taabu

@WynonaLouw

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