South Africa endured a difficult weekend in the Las Vegas Sevens tournament, where they finished in a disappointing seventh position.
Things have gone from bad to worse for Neil Powell’s side as the injuries to Ryan Oosthuizen and Mfundo Ndhlovu has meant that Zain Davids and Kurt-Lee Arendse have had to be called into the setup.
The addition of Davids isn’t likely to disrupt the camp too much; with the 21-year-old already having appeared in 17 tournaments with his country including back to back World Series wins in 2017 and 2018. However, Arendse is an uncapped call up to the team.
The 22-year-old has impressed during his time with the South African Rugby Sevens Academy in tournaments in Dubai and South America. Arendse’s attacking qualities weren’t hard to miss, as he was the star of the show. He has also recently played in the opening round of the Varsity Cup for the University of the Western Cape.
What happended in Vegas….. was not good. One last reflection from senior squad member @SiviweSoyizwapi and then onwards towards @CanadaSevens The squad will rebound, for sure! @CastleFreeSA @FNBSA @ASICS_ZA pic.twitter.com/zEsxgBOOwV
— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) March 4, 2019
The Blitzboks frustrating weekend was summed up in their fifth-place semi-final defeat against Fiji on Sunday. A slow start by Powell’s side had found the South Africans 7-0 down after the first minute; something that they never looked like recovering from.
Neil Powell said the result was frustrating; however, he couldn’t blame the lack of effort by the players. Speaking to reporters following the conclusion of the tournament, he said: “They gave it all out there, and I am pleased with the effort.”
“We made some errors on the attack, but I told the guys before the match that we should finish it knowing we executed and gave our all. It was a bit frustrating that we could not quite get the first one right. Our decision making was lacking a bit in the final minutes.”
The South African Sevens squad for Vancouver:
Zain Davids, Philip Snyman, Impi Visser, Sako Makata, Werner Kok, JC Pretorius, Branco du Preez, Selvyn Davids, Justin Geduld, Stedman Gans, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Muller du Plessis, Kurt-Lee Arendse.
Article written by Alex Dudley
Main photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby