Blitzboks’ Sydney Sevens Win: Senatla Presses Pause On Sevens Career


 If you missed it, Springbok Sevens on Sunday, won the HSBC Sydney Sevens tournament. Blitzboks’ Sydney Sevens win happened at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.

Springbok Sevens team crushed England 29 – 14 in the final. Lifting the trophy, the Blitzboks also elevated their lead in the overall series as it was their third win in the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Seven Series.

At 85, the Blitzboks is now leading England (68) with 17 points. While Fiji is at 64, New Zealand sits at 56.

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The Blitzboks’ Sydney Sevens win follows the HSBC Wellington Sevens they won a week ago and the opening tournament of the HSBC series in Dubai which they won in December 2016.

As it happened, South Africa gained a comfortable 19 – 0 lead at break after Philip Snyman, Seabelo Senatla and Justin Geduld all scored first half tries.

Also, Branco du Preez made two conversions that handed Springbok Sevens team the commanding lead.

Shortly after restart, South Africa extended the lead to 24 – 0 when Geduld scored his second try. Soon, Tim Mitchell scored a converted try for England but it was already, an impossible miracle for them to catch up with the Blitzboks.

Later, Stephan Dippenaar, who only joined the playing squad yesterday to replace injured Werner Kok, offered a neat try and left the score at 29 – 7.

Towards end-time, England scored a try through Dan Norton. But then, it’s too late to save the day for England who won the HSBC Cape Town Sevens tournament.

After the Blitzboks’ Sydney Sevens win, Seabelo Senatla – Springbok Sevens’ all-time try-scoring record holder – expressed that the back-to-back tournament wins for the Springbok Sevens team was the perfect way for himself and forward Kwagga Smith to end their current involvement with the Blitzboks.

BuzzSouthAfrica learnt that Senatla and Smith will now, respectively join the DHL Stormers and Emirates Lions for the upcoming Vodacom Super Rugby competition.

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As a winger, Senatla has scored 189 career tries since 2013 when he joined the Springbok Sevens team. He’s reigning as World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year; and was named HSBC Player of the Final for the second week in a row.

First was the HSBC Wellington Sevens and the second, HSBC Sydney Sevens. He collectively scored 17 tries in the tournaments.

Again, Senatla and Smith were named in the Tournament Dream Team in Wellington and Sydney. Justin Geduld was also named but for Sydney alone.

Commenting on Senatla and Smith’s departure, Springbok Sevens captain, Philip Snyman said: “we know they will do well in Super Rugby, they will be back one day and then they will just slot back into the band of brothers. We wish them well.”

Snyman also talked about Blitzboks back-to-back tournament wins saying: “we have played great rugby over two weekends and we achieved everything we wanted to.

“We cannot ask for more. In the final we played like we planned. Our defensive system was great and that paved the way. We have something pretty special going, but only hard work will keep us there.”

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Confirming his departure from Springbok Sevens team, Senatla said:

“I am not gone forever. So, …it was a great way to press pause in my sevens career.

I am at a good place at the moment and very fortunate. It is incredible. The guys are just magicians, hats off to them, I am just the finisher of the moves.

It is bitter-sweet, we play here with family so it is a pity to be leaving the family…

But…moving to fifteens is a nice challenge though. It’s a new challenge I am excited for and something I am looking forward to.”

Smith also confirmed his departure while he praised the Springbok Sevens team for defeating USA, Australia and England on Sunday to win the title.

“Here is a great winning culture and we are a band of brothers,” he said. “We went out there today and played the way we wanted to play. It is sad to go, but it will always be sad to leave this team and there will never be a right time,” added Smith.