Outgoing Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell described his team’s World Cup weekend as “bittersweet” as he prepares to join the Sharks as director of rugby.
The home tournament, held over three days in Cape Town, unexpectedly detonated for the Blitzboks, who lost to Ireland in the quarter-finals on Saturday before falling to Argentina in the fifth/8th place playoff on Sunday.
This is clearly a bittersweet weekend. It wasn’t the weekend we had planned, but it demonstrates how brutal Sevens is: if you don’t show up or aren’t clinical, you get punished, and that’s exactly what happened. “It’s a shame that we only pitched for the last game out of the four,” Powell said.
When asked what went wrong, Powell said that life is a series of ups and downs, and this weekend was one of the downs.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to have the fairytale ending that we all desired, but that’s life: ups and downs.” “I’ll remember this for what it was and the special moments we shared,” he said.
“60% of this team has never played in Cape Town.” The hype and energy in the stadium is something you have to get used to, especially in South Africa, but I’m confident the guys will handle it better when they return in December, without me.”
Powell isn’t the only one who has moved on from the Sevens.
Four players will leave Sevens, including Muller du Plessis, who will follow his mentor to Durban. Angelo Davids will rejoin the Stormers, Sako Makata will join the Griquas in Kimberly, and JC Pretorius will join the Lions.
“After this weekend, there are a lot of thoughts about the preparation leading up to the weekend,” Powell said, adding, “I’m happy and honoured to have been a part of this system for the last 15 years.”
Powell’s replacement, known to both SA Rugby and Powell, will be announced in the coming days.
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