Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell is hoping his team improves for the home leg of the series. Photo: Aubrey Kgakatsi/BackpagePix

Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell says they will look to control matches better at the Cape Town leg of the 2018/19 World Sevens Series on Saturday and Sunday.

The Blitzboks slumped to one of their worst starts to the Series in recent seasons in the opening tournament in Dubai at the weekend.

The South Africans claimed victories over Zimbabwe and Samoa on Day One, but fell to Argentina in their last match on Friday.

Despite the upset, the Blitzboks still topped Pool A to set up a Cup quarter-final fixture against England.

It was a game where the Blitzboks never looked in control, and the ultimate 22-5 defeat was testament to that.

They managed to bounce back against Scotland, though, beating them 29-0 in the Plate semi-final, before losing 24-19 to Fiji in an extra-time fifth-place thriller that looked more like a Cup final.

But despite the disappointing finish, for Powell there were a few positives, like how they started controling games better as the weekend progressed.

“The fact that we did not play any tournaments before the start of the World Series may have impacted on our performances here in Dubai,” said Powell. 

“We managed to control matches for longer spells as the tournament progressed and I am happy with that."

It was always going to be tough for the Blitzboks after losing the likes of Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Kwagga Smith, Dylan Sage and Tim Agaba to the 15-man game. And while the depth in the Sevens set-up cannot be doubted, firing right from the start was perhaps a task made a bit tougher given the bigger injection of youngsters minus the experience and firepower of the Fifteens departees.

“The reality is that we are in a bit of a rebuilding phase, with a number of experienced guys who have moved on, so it will take a bit of time to be at our very best again,” said Powell. 

“I am pleased that we showed progress and we will take another step forward this coming weekend.” 

@WynonaLouw


IOL Sport

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