LadyBlitz showing positive signs
WOMEN'S UPDATE: Paul Delport's appointment as South Africa Women's Sevens coach has done wonders for the team.
Delport, a former captain of the BlitzBoks, was elevated to the women's Sevens role after serving as SA Sevens Academy assistant coach in recent seasons.
It was a significant move implemented by South Africa Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus.
Under the guidance of Delport, the LadyBlitz have started to produce noteworthy performances, which include a bronze medal in Brisbane last weekend.
The South Africans outplayed France for the bronze medal and showed much progress in the process.
A close, but deserving 21-19 win over the USA in the Cup quarterfinals was a good start to the day, but current Olympic Games gold medal winners Australia proved too strong in the semifinals.
A try by Chane Stadler just before halftime had her team still in the game against the home side who also won the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series tournament in Sydney, but in the second stanza, the hosts had too much firepower, winning 38-5.
The South Africans showed good physicality though, something Delport, urged them to do in the match.
The match against France was a glimpse of the potential of the side, with wing Nadine Roos and outside back Veroeshka Grain scoring a brace in a very satisfying 29-14 win.
A number of those tries came from structured and disciplined play by the South Africans, while they also defended strongly against France. Mathrin Simmers also scored a five-pointer following good pressure and quick thinking. Zenay Jordaan and Chane Stadler kicked a conversion each.
"It was a great day for us on many fronts," Delport explained.
"We had the opportunity to face three teams in the USA, Australia and France that are all playing in the World Series. The quality of the opposition give us a good look at the level and intensity we need to be at if we want to qualify for the series ourselves,"
Delport applauded the team effort.
"I gave everyone equal opportunities and playing time and all responded very well. The Australian team was a bit of a shock, but it showed us how sevens should be played. The way we bounced back after that match and played against France was really a highlight for me. The team did so well and that is very pleasing,"
The South Africans will now prepare for the World Series qualifying tournament in Hong Kong early April, before returning to Australia for the Commonwealth Games.