Powell: It was a pretty amazing season

Tue, 23 May 2017 19:32
Large blitzboks trophies 2017 800

REACTION: The BlitzBoks, who were crowned 2016-17 World Rugby Sevens Series champions last weekend, received a huge welcome at Cape Town International Airport on Tuesday.

Sandile Ngcobo, Dewald Human and Marco Labuschagne were absent as they already travelled to France to play for the SA Rugby Sevens Academy in an invitational tournament in Tours.

South Africa’s last and only other World Series win came in 2008/09 when the team also topped the standings. Head coach Neil Powell, who was one of the players in that squad, has now become the first person to win it as a coach as well, but he was quick to reflect that feat towards his squad’s achievements.

"It was a pretty amazing season," said Powell.

"To win five tournaments and play in eight finals was awesome. We have set high standards for ourselves, and although we only play to win, we are really pleased.

"It does reward the massive amount of work put in by the players, management and other stakeholders, such as our sponsors. It was really humbling to see the support at the airport and we really appreciate that."

Captain Philip Snyman was as proud: "Every time we pull that jersey over our shoulders, we do so for us as a team, as a band of brothers, but also for everyone who support us, in fact, for everyone in South Africa.
 
"We were pretty aware of the support we get whenever or wherever we play, so to be able to bring the trophy back is also the best way possible to say thank you, South Africa," said Snyman. 

Cecil Afrika, who has scored 1297 points in his career, said it was a dream come true: "I have been around for almost ten years now and just missed out on the previous series win. Personally, I had to overcome a lot of things, including bad injuries, so this feels so good. It is indeed a dream come true for me," he said.
 
The team will travel to Free State and Gauteng provinces on Wednesday and Thursday for a roadshow, where a number of school visits and media engagements will take place.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
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