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


The Blitzboks crawl onto the field. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

Outgoing Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell judged his side’s World Cup weekend as ‘bittersweet’ when he went to the Sharks to take on the role of director of rugby.

Held over three days in Cape Town, the home tournament exploded unexpectedly for the Blitzboks as they fell to Ireland in their quarterfinals on Saturday, before Argentina defeated them 26-19 in their 5th/8th place finish on Sunday.

They managed to beat Samoa 35-5 in the play-off to deal with 7th place with their 32-5 win over Chile in their opening clash.

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After a graceful lap of honor on Sunday night, Powell could look back on a weekend that had escaped them.

“Obviously it’s a bittersweet weekend. It’s not the weekend we planned, but that shows how brazen Sevens is: if you don’t show up or if you’re not clinical, you get punished for it and that’s exactly what happened. It’s a shame we’ve pitched to the last of the four games,” Powell said.

Powell examined exactly where things went wrong, Powell’s answer was that life is a series of ups and downs and this weekend was one of the downs.

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“Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the fairytale ending we were all hoping for, but that’s life: ups and downs. I’ll always remember this for what it was and for the special moments we had,” he said.

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

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

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

“After this weekend, there are a lot of thoughts about preparation leading up to the weekend,” Powell continued in his reflection, adding: “I am happy and honored to have been part of this system for the past 15 years.”

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