Bl­itzboks world se­ries win is ‘un­real’ says Pow­ell

Pretoria News - - RACING -


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 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.”

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