The Blitzboks huddle on the field. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

‘Bittersweet’ World Cup closes Neil Powell’s Sevens chapter: ‘I’m honored to have been a part of it’ | sport

The Blitzboks huddle on the field. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

Outgoing Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell called his side’s World Cup weekend “bittersweet” as he moves to the Sharks to take on the role of director of rugby.

The home tournament, held in Cape Town over three days, unexpectedly exploded for the Blitzboks as they crashed to defeat Ireland in their quarter-final clash on Saturday. before Argentina beat them 26-19 in their 5th/8th place qualifier on Sunday.

They managed to beat Samoa 35-5 in playoff for 7th place to go along with their 32-5 win over Chile in their opening clash.

After a graceful victory lap on Sunday night, Powell was able to fully reflect on a weekend that kept them apart.

“It’s obviously a bittersweet weekend. It’s not the weekend we had planned, but it shows how brutal the Sevens is: if you don’t get going or if you’re not not clinical, you get punished for that and that’s exactly what happened. It’s a shame that out of the four games we’ve been in the last,” Powell said.

Probed to find out where it went wrong, Powell’s response was that life is a series of ups and downs and this weekend was one of the lows.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get to have the fairy tale ending we all hoped for, but that’s life: ups and downs. I will always remember it for what it was and for the times. specials that we passed,” he said.

“60% of this team have never played in Cape Town before. The hype and the energy in the stadium is something you have to get used to and especially in South Africa, but it’s something I’m sure that the guys will handle better when they come in December and it will be without me.”

Powell isn’t the only person to leave the Sevens.

No less than four players will leave the Sevens, including Muller du Plessis who will follow his mentor to Durban. Angelo Davids will return to the Stormers, Sako Makata left for Kimberly with the Griquas while JC Pretorius joins the Lions.

“After this weekend, there are a lot of thoughts about preparing for the weekend,” Powell continued in his reflection, adding, “I’m happy and honored to be part of this system for 15 years.”

Powell’s successor, known to SA Rugby and Powell, will be announced in the coming days.

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