Blitzboks world series win is ‘unreal’ says Powell
WYNONA LOUW Cape Town
UNREAL. That’s how Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell describes the feeling of winning back-to-back World Sevens Series titles.
Powell’s record-breaking team arrived at the Cape Town International Airport yesterday after winning the Paris tournament on Sunday.
The Blitzboks emerged as champions of the international Sevens circuit again, after claiming the title last year for the first time since 2008/09.
“It still feels unreal,” Powell said.
“We had a few challenges to overcome especially in the last week. Going into the last tournament seven points behind Fiji...to be honest I didn’t think it would really be possible to win the World Series.”
“Credit to the guys for keeping their focus after that Spain quarter-final. We didn’t perform well. But the fact that they knew Fiji was out of the competition and that we could win it...I think their composure and focus was amazing in the last two games.”
“Everything fell in place, and I’m just grateful.”
The Blitzboks (182 points) edged Olympic gold medallists Fiji (180) on the final standings, while the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold-medal winners New Zealand (150) ended third.
“I think it was two special seasons – last year because we dominated the series and won it with a game to go, and this year because we lost so many players (to injury) and exposed new players to the World Series. This was probably a more persistent effort, last year we only used 20 players or so.”
“It’s amazing that we used 28 players, a lot of youngsters got their opportunities.”
Next month in the USA, San Francisco hosts the Rugby World Cup Sevens, an event Powell hasn’t given much thought to.
“We’ll sit down with the medical staff and see who can be available for us for the World Cup. But the squad will probably consist of the guys that made up the squad, one or two Fifteens guys that played Sevens in the past, academy players and guys returning from injury.”