BlitzBokke defined by their defence

Wed, 30 Jul 2014 21:28
Large neil powell with players

EXCLUSIVE: Jan de Koning chatted to South African Sevens coach Neil Powell about their victorious Commonwealth Games campaign.

South Africa's gold medal-winning performance at the Commonwealth Games has resulted in the Sevens stars being idolized on the home front.

The plaudits have been heaped on them for the breathtaking and electrifying style of rugby produced by the BlitzBokke in Glasgow.

Yet, despite the exhilarating form they showed at the weekend - which saw them edge arch rivals New Zealand 17-12 in the Final - it is their defence that was highlighted by coach Neil Powell as key to their success.

On Day One, in the pool matches, SA did not concede a single point - as they demolished Trinidad & Tobago 36-0 (and scored six tries), Cook Islands 50-0 (eight tries) and Kenya 20-0 (four tries).

In the knock-out stages on Day Two, against more esteemed opposition, they conceded five tries - beating hosts Scotland 35-12 (five tries to two), Samoa 35-7 (five tries to one) and New Zealand 17-12 (three tries to two).

That is 106-0 on Day One (an average of 35 points per match) and 87-31 (29-10) on Day Two - including 31 tries in their six matches at the weekend.

It is obvious that Kyle Brown and his BlizBokke were anything but drab and dreary in their approach.

Powell, speaking to rugby365 in an exclusive interview after the team's return to South Africa, said that from the outset during their preparations for he Games there was something different about the team.

"The players just showed a greater hunger and greater desire to do well in this tournament," the wily coach said.

"From the first time the team got together there was something different about them," he said, adding that that desire was evident in the defence, especially in the Final - when they came back from 0-7 down in he face of a determined early onslaught by the Kiwis to seal a deserved win.

"We have been trying the whole season [throughout the IRB Sevens World Series] to put good defensive structure in place," he told rugby365.

"We wanted that work ethic and attitude on defence and we got it right in this tournament.

"The last time [it was this good] was [in the IRB Round Three tournament] in Port Elizabeth [back in December] where we had a 96 percent tackle completion-rate," he said of a tournament where the BlitzBokke beat New Zealand 17-14 in the Cup Final.

"We were very close to that tackle completion-rate in this [Commonwealth Games] tournament.

"We pride ourselves on defence and we have a saying: 'Defence defines you as a person'.

"If we concede tries it means the opposition had to work really hard for those tries.

"A guy like Warren Whiteley, when he came in, had the same attitude. The first day when we worked on our defence, he said: 'Guys, defence win and lose games'.

"And, when we had the ball in hand, we really attacked them. We didn't just shift the ball around from side to side, we attacked their defensive lines."

By Jan de Koning

* Don't miss the rest of our interviews with the victorious BlitzBokke, where we speak with Powell about his plans for the future, the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, we hat to Springbok wing Cornal Hendricks and also bring you the view of SA Sevens captain Kyle Brown, who may have to undergo surgery to repair the shoulder injury he sustained in the Final in Glasgow.

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 30 September 2016
Golden Lions v Sharks 15h00 Johannesburg
EP Kings v Pumas 16h00 Nelspruit
Western Province v Boland 17h10 Cape Town
Dragons v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Rodney Parade
Connacht v Edinburgh 18h35 Sportsground
Bristol v Saracens 18h45 Ashton Gate
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 01 October 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Griquas 12h00 Bloemfontein
Sale Sharks v Leicester Tigers 13h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
South Africa v Australia 15h05 Loftus Versfeld
Munster v Zebre 16h00 Thomond Park
Ulster v Ospreys 17h30 Kingspan Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Leinster 18h35 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Cardiff Blues v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Stadio Monigo
Sun, 02 October 2016
Argentina v New Zealand 22h10 Ascoli Piceno
Wasps v Harlequins 13h30 Ricoh Arena
Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons 14h00 Sixways
Tue, 04 October 2016
Edinburgh v Ulster 19h35 BT Murrayfield
SEVENS
MORE LOGS
Pool 00
Team P W D L Pts
Brazil 7s 0 0 0 0 1
Korea Sevens 0 0 0 0 10
Pool 19
Team P W D L Pts
England Sevens 0 0 0 0 19
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Fiji Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Canada Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Australia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
France Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Japan Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
Argentina Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
United States Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Russia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool D
Team P W D L Pts
South Africa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Kenya Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Portugal Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool
Team P W D L Pts
Wales Sevens
Zimbabwe 7s