Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell on Monday said he is pleased with the early form of his players who featured for the successful SARU Sevens Academy squad over the weekend in Windhoek. The Academy clinched the SAFLand Windhoek Sevens when they defeated Zimbabwe in the final on Saturday to complete an impressive, unbeaten run at the tournament in the Namibian capital. They returned to SA on Sunday.
Powell selected several of his national players alongside a few talented members of the successful Academy squad for the trip to Windhoek. The tournament in neighbouring Namibia is one of two international events the coach have earmarked to test the readiness of his squad in the important build-up to the coming HSBC Sevens World Series. Ruhan Nel, Philip Snyman, Werner Kok, Stephan Dippenaar and Justin Geduld are all regulars on the World Series and their efforts over the weekend helped the Academy selection to clinch another international title in Windhoek.
Powell gave new Bok Sevens recruit Dylan Sage, the big University of Cape Town wing, a good run out in Windhoek while he also used the trip to have a closer look at Eastern Province Kings fullback Siviwe Soyizwapi. Powell says: ‘I think the players did very well in Windhoek. It was our first serious outing after a long layoff and some intensive fitness and conditioning work in Stellenbosch. The boys combined well, especially the young Academy players and those who recently returned to our training camp after playing in the Absa Currie Cup competition.’ Next stop is the popular Singapore tournament at the end of October, an event that traditionally features a number of strong combinations from the Pacific Islands, Asia and Europe.
Powell says: ‘The group for Singapore will be a different one. Our plan is to give those who did not play in Windhoek the opportunity to get game time and to reintegrate the guys returning later on from provincial duty, back into our system.’
Photo credit: WESSEL OOSTHUIZEN / SASPA