The Springbok Sevens team closed the gap on New Zealand on the World Rugby Sevens Series log despite suffering an agonising 12-10 defeat by Fiji in the final of the Sydney Sevens.
Neil Powell’s men also consolidated second spot in the overall standings with the All Blacks Sevens side still top of the log with 76 points after four tournaments. The Blitzboks are nine points behind on 67, while France (56), who started the weekend in joint-second spot with South Africa, dropped to third, followed by England (54), Fiji (53) and the USA (47).
The performance of the Blitzboks was a huge improvement from last weekend and Powell expressed his satisfaction with the overall effort, but said the result in the final is hurting.
‘That one hurts a bit, because we did not sustain the excellent form we displayed in the first four matches of the tournament,’ said Powell.
‘We had some basics letting us down in the final and that was disappointing. We paid the price, unfortunately. I thought we had control of the match till the end, but Fiji exploited our mistakes and they won.’
The Blitzbok coach credited his team for their effort this past weekend, and noted that while the final will be a negative, there are many positives to draw from the tournament in Sydney.
‘We will be going into the next tournament with some confidence and momentum and that is a good thing,’ added Powell.
Blitzbok captain Stedman Gans said the mistakes in the final will be remembered.
‘We did improve a lot from last weekend and the way we improved was very positive,’ said Gans. ‘The final was a let-down, though, and we will have to look at ourselves again, because we lost due to our mistakes.
‘As a squad, we are improving though and I think we are on the up, which is a good thing.’
The Blitzboks will return to their home base in Stellenbosch on Monday evening, with the next tournament of the World Series being played in Los Angeles on 29 February and 1 March, followed by Vancouver a week later.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) February 2, 2020
Photo: David van der Sandt