Neil Powell (Getty Images)
Six tries against France and a win over New Zealand in their last two games at the HSBC Canada Sevens in Vancouver, as well as a better performance than Singapore a week earlier, pointed to a positive end to their journey to Blitzbok. for Asia and North America, but the overall performance was equal and may not be sugar-coated.
This was a clear assessment of Neil Powell, coach of the Blitzbox Sevens, upon the completion of the fifth and sixth stages of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Singapore and Vancouver, where the Blitzboks saw their overall lead on the standings for Argentina and Australia eroded. ,
South Africa are now only six points ahead of the World Series on 111 points with the eliminations of Argentina (105) and Australia (100). Blitzbock could only manage 23 league points in the last two tournaments, while Argentina scored 35 and Australia 34. same period.
There are three tournaments remaining in Toulouse and London at the end of May and Los Angeles at the end of August.
Powell was not looking only at the standings in his assessment of the Blitzbox’s performance – after winning all three of their pool matches on the first day in Vancouver, the South Africans lost to Samoa in the Cup quarter-finals before returning with a win against France. . and New Zealand to finish the tournament in fifth place overall.
“It was a tough two weeks and it was not something we would be happy with as a team,” Powell said.
“We have to ask ourselves tough questions about what happened and what areas we need to improve.
“As individuals, we will have serious talks on our performance, but also as a team, where we haven’t worked as well as we should have.
“The way we finished the last two games is a positive; we really changed that. But it doesn’t detract from those weak moments, and we need to work hard on ourselves to make sure it Don’t be in the next two tournaments.”
The squad did not show their usual consistency in performance, and Powell said this would need to be addressed: “We had hot and cold moments, and sadly those colds proved to be critical and very expensive. What we need to look at – players and coaching staff alike – is to see how and why this happened and what can be done to stop it.”
Powell also pointed to the team’s mental preparation: “It’s a physical and mental game and many times we don’t react mentally the way we used to.”
Despite the disappointments, there were some positives for Powell as well, including the return of Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand in the World Series after an early-round exit due to the pandemic.
“They test you in different ways and areas and some of the youngsters on the team need to learn and experience what they were,” he said.
“You can tell them what to expect, but they can’t believe you until they experience it themselves, especially the physicality in the contact areas. We needed to play against them and although we Lost two (Fiji and Samoa) and won one (new). If we implement it properly we can succeed against them.”
James Murphy, who made a winning effort against New Zealand, had mixed feelings but was proud of his comeback effort.
“From a personal point of view, it was about grabbing the opportunities presented, and I’m happy with the way I react,” said Murphy, who was not in Singapore and only in Vancouver as an injury replacement. had joined the team.
“It’s always good to end up trying something like this where the whole team did their job.”
Murphy thinks a better start to their matches will be key for Blitzbock: “We lost to Samoa – and credit them – by playing against ourselves as well.
“That first half was terrible. We conceded penalties, we took the ball away and allowed them a lot of lead. We need to address those errors because when we did against France and New Zealand, we played the game. I could have stayed.”
In Pool D, South Africa will face Samoa, Ireland and Spain in Pool D from May 20-22.
Argentina, won in Vancouver, will travel to top seed France and take on England, Canada and Japan in Pool A.
Meanwhile, Fiji, France, Wales and Kenya will fight Pool B. Australia, New Zealand, Scotland and the USA will be in the very competitive Pool C.
Selected 2022 season stats for Blitzbock:
141: Ronald Brown
138: Selvin Davids
105: Civive Soyazvapi
70: Jesse Pretorius
24: Selvin Davids
21: We are not heard
14: Jesse Pretorius
13: Ronald Brown
10: Zayn Davids
68: Zayn Davids
55: Christy Grobbelaar
51: Jesse Pretorius
50: Selvin Davids
49: Imp Visor
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Standings:
111: South Africa