The Blitzboks arrived in Cape Town to a heroes welcome on Tuesday after securing the 2016/17 HSBC World Sevens Series title in Paris 10 days ago. Coach Neil Powell promised that his side would not stand still now that they have won the title after four years of finishing runners-up.
CAPE TOWN – The goal is to keep pushing the boundaries of sevens play.
“There is a saying that if you stand still you are actually going backwards‚ so we have to go and search for the one percenters that will take us to another level‚” Powell said.
“We have to stay ahead of the bunch because everybody is improving.
“There are a group of new coaches on the circuit and new players who are all honing their sevens systems and the more time they spend together the better are becoming.
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“We have to find areas of our game that need improvement so that we can stay ahead of the pack.
“We had two goals – to win the series and develop the next generation of players this season.
“It’s difficult to get that balance right because under pressure to win you sometimes don’t throw the younger guys into the mix. But we have done pretty well in that regard.
“But we need to find more tournaments for the Academy players to participate in because you can’t completely replicate a tournament environment in training. You can get about 70% there.
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“They learn far more from reviewing their performance in a game situation.”
The Blitzboks won five of the 10 tournaments and made eight finals. It was a lesson is consistency and ruthlessness‚ which is something Powell was especially proud of.
“We evaluate ourselves not so much on the result but the effort we put in‚” the coach said.
“I’m so proud of the boys because they put in so much work over years for this.
“Besides winning‚ I’m most proud of the work ethic because it’s something that didn’t happen overnight. It was built up over four seasons.
“The culture we have also stands out for me. We fight for each other and if someone makes a mistake the other guys are there to cover for them.
“If there is a line break they are all chasing back to make that cover tackle. Defensively we had some strong performances‚ especially earlier in the campaign and that gave us a foundation.”
The team were greeted by over 200 people at Cape Town international and among those were squad members Juan de Jongh‚ Cheslin Kolbe and top try-scorer Seabelo Senatla.
Former member Cornal Hendricks was also on hand to cheer them on.
- TMG Digital/TMG Sport
PHOTO: The investment in the Blitzboks has paid off.
Image by: GETTY IMAGES