The year comes to an end just as the 2017 World Sevens Series starts in the first few days of December.
Starting in Dubai the rugby 7s top tier commence their series, quickly followed by Cape Town. Truly fantastic locations with rugby the winner. The South Africa’s 7s team has started the HSBC Sevens series in superb form. In a year South African rugby has essentially hit rock bottom and looked atrocious, the Blitzboks flew the flag high as they conquered the World Sevens arena. The team has managed to combine a technical team led by Neil Powell to great effect as they boast the best defence in the series and the best attack at the moment. It is the great balance demonstrated by the side which sticks out.
The South African’s breakdown prowess is immaculate; aggressive, precise and leaving opposition under considerable pressure. A well-coached side that highlighted this in their demolition of the New Zealand side twice. No side has managed to make more tackles (238) or scored more tries (56) than the Blitzboks as Chris Dry and Seabelo Senatla respectively spearheading each category. Their discipline of not conceding a single card does not go unnoticed as their closest rivals lead the ill-discipline column with 5 yellow cards.
12 games played, 11 wins and 1 defeat at home to the England 7s side, the Blitzboks still have a long tournament ahead. The next stop will begin to test the Blitzboks on their depth and whether they will be able to adapt without Seabelo Senatla who will be focusing on his XV’s career with the Stormers. The star flyer has scored 11 tries and broken the defensive line 72 times. Simply put, in a team that works hard for each other and functions supremely as one; Senatla is the X-factor when they need some magic. His absence alongside former captain Kyle Brown will provide a stern mental test, as they will face a series that will become more difficult.
The Blitzboks are a shining example for South African rugby but are a long way off from being World Series champions. The series moves onto Wellington and Sydney in late January and early February. Check in with the team at TalkingRugbyUnion for updates and thanks Brightsun Travel (www.brightsun.co.uk) for enabling other to bring you images from www.dubairugby7s.com