Neil Powell was frustrated with his team performance in Hong Kong on Sunday. Photo: Aubrey Kgakatsi/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – At least the Blitzboks are still in the top four.

The Springbok Sevens team’s seventh-place finish in Hong Kong of course wasn’t the desired result, but if there is one positive they can take from a rather disappointing weekend, it’s the fact that they have managed to retain fourth spot on the standings.

England’s poor performances certainly benefited the Blitzboks and allowed the South Africans to remain nine points clear of the fifth-placed outfit.

The top four teams at the end of the 2018-19 World Sevens Series will gain automatic entry to the Tokyo Olympics.

While the Blitzboks would have hoped to claim their first Hong Kong Sevens title, Fiji won the tournament for a record fifth consecutive time, beating France 21-7 in the final, which allowed the Fijians to put a bit of pressure on series leaders the USA, who finished third at the tournament.

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After Neil Powell’s team won all three of their matches on day one and two against Japan, Scotland and Samoa to top Pool A, they came up short against the USA in the Cup quarter-finals.

The USA beat the Blitzboks 21-12 at the Hong Kong Stadium, before they also lost 19-17 to Argentina in the semi-finals of the fifth-place playoff yesterday.

And it’s results Powell described as frustrating.

“It was a frustrating day,” said Powell. “We did not make the step-up required after doing well on day one and two.

“The first half against USA, in particular, was one of missed opportunities.

“We did not use our chances, while we gave them two and they scored from both.”

@WynonaLouw



Cape Times

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