Fluffed opportunities, but Powell remains positive
CAPE TOWN – Almost, but not yet.
That could have been the thoughts of the Blitzboks as they lost to New Zealand 5-7 in the final of the Cape Town Sevens.
Going into the final, the Blitzboks were one of the form teams, having emerged from the pool stages unbeaten.
After the final, coach Neil Powell lamented the two missed opportunities at the Cape Town Stadium, but said his team, which featured a mix of experience and young blood, still got the job done, as opposed to last season.
“We had two good weeks, playing in two finals and winning one,” said Powell.
“That is a much better start than last season and bar the two lineouts we fluffed in the final, we had in a good tournament. I certainly cannot fault the effort of the players.”
Powell went on to say that the longer than usual pre-season helped his team to prepare well for the opening legs of the World Series and winning 11 of their 12 matches in Dubai and Cape Town.
“We had the opportunity to get a proper pre-season in this year and that has helped a lot,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that we could not pull this one through as the Cape Town crowd has been amazing and we would have loved nothing more than winning in front of them.”
Team captain, Siviwe Soyizwapi, said the margins of error in finals are tighter than ever: “The difference between the two sides today was that New Zealand had one opportunity to score and they did, but we had at least three and only used one.
“It was a tough tournament physically for us, so it would have been nice if we could top the effort with another win, especially in Cape Town, which is by far my favourite tournament.
“But two finals in two tournaments cannot be faulted and was just reward for the effort the squad put in. Credit to New Zealand, who came out on top today,” added Soyizwapi.@WynonaLouw