Branco du Preez in action for the BlitzBoks. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – While Blitzbok coach Neil Powell admitted they weren’t at their best at the London leg of the World Sevens Series, he was pleased that they retained their top-four spot.

The Blitzboks suffered a 29-22 defeat to Australia in the Cup quarter-finals after scoring three big victories on day one at Twickenham, and their quarter-final disappointment set them up for the fifth-place playoff against New Zealand, which they also lost. The Blitzboks’ fourth spot wasn’t really in trouble, though.

The Blitzboks’ attack was on point on the first day and allowed them to post 40 points in each of their three pool matches. They hammered Japan (49-0), Canada (45-14) and Argentina (40-21), which saw them become the only team to have qualified top of their pool in all nine tournaments played so far.

That stat alone says a lot about the season the team have had - they have certainly done well seeing as they are in a transition phase, but they haven’t always managed to perform consistently enough.

All the good the Blitzboks did on the first day of the tournament lacked in the quarter-final against Australia.

They were overpowered at the breakdown, struggled to secure the kick-off at times and under the high ball, while that fine finishing we saw on day one wasn’t as evident either.

Things looked better against New Zealand in the fifth-place playoff, but the Kiwis just did more to win the pulsating match 21-17.

In the Cup final, Fiji beat Australia.

The series will conclude in Paris this weekend.

@WynonaLouw

 

Cape Times

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