CAPE TOWN - The Cape Town leg of the World Sevens Series has evaded the Springbok Sevens team yet again, but coach Neil Powell says he’s happy his team claimed the bronze medal in front of their home crowd.
It was New Zealand who claimed the Cape Town rewards for the first time, and it also meant they scooped their first tournament win since the Vancouver leg of the Series last year.
The Blitzboks were on point on Day One - comfortably topping Pool A after winning all three of their matches - but Day Two wasn’t an easy one for the Blitzboks.
First, they had a quarter-final meeting with Fiji, and the hosts managed to pull off the comeback of the tournament after being 14-0 and a man down in the opening two minutes to delivering a more composed second-half outing to down the Islanders 31-26.
Then came their semi-final booking with the Kiwis - one that magnified the errors the Springboks Sevens were guilty of. It was the South African’s impatience with ball in hand and a few defensive lapses that ultimately proved costly.
After falling to New Zealand, the Blitzboks pipped Canada 19-12 in the contest for the third spot, and following the fixture, Powell said that the players he would have wanted his charges to “look after the system” better.
“It’s never about the results for us, it’s about how the guys perform out there, the effort that they put in and how they implement the processes,” he added. “Even in that Fiji game there were signs that the guys wouldn’t say that the guys didn’t put in effort, but they just weren’t looking after the system like we want them to.”
“We often get ourselves into that situation where we push the intensity but we don’t control or respect the ball enough. We give away easy possession, and quality teams or quality players are going to punish you. It’s something we need to look at - maybe we need to take a step down on our intensity and step up on our control. The only way we can do it is by having the ball.”
“We obviously pride ourselves on our defence, and especially if they cut our lines and get through the middle then we’re obviously disappointed. It’s all about the system and everybody needs to do their roles to implement the system.
"If they do it well then the opposition shouldn’t come through the middle, if they want to cut the line or beat the defensive system then they have to go around. And that one of the things I meant when I said we didn’t look after our system well enough.”
Springbok Sevens results on day two:
Springbok Sevens vs Fiji (quarter-final): 31-26
Springbok Sevens vs New Zealand (semi-final): 12-19
Top five World Sevens Series standings after two rounds:
1 New Zealand (41)
2 South Africa (39)
3 Fiji (28)
4 England (27)
5 Argentina (24)