Depth key to BlitzBoks success

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 10:41

INTERVIEW: BlitzBok star Ruhan Nel believes depth in the squad has played a key role in South Africa's success so far in the 2016/2-17 Sevens World Series. 

The Springbok Sevens team arrived safely in Sydney, where Werner Kok, Branco du Preez and Nel will be looking to add a third series title this weekend as part of a squad where all the players and management contribute.

The Blitzboks will contest the Sydney Sevens – the fourth stop of the World Rugby Sevens Series – on Saturday and Sunday. The tournament, to be played at the Allianz Stadium, will see South Africa play England, Kenya and Japan in a tough Pool A on Saturday.

The Wellington Sevens proved to be a highlight for South Africa, as the team recorded only a second win in 15 years, having last won in 2002.

Nel, who came on as a replacement and scored twice in the Cup Final against Fiji, said his tries came about due to team work. His five-pointers, both scored late in the second half, effectively took the result away from the Fijians, who are known for their comeback ability.

"It is always pretty tense when you come on as a sub, as you want to contribute," said Nel.

"There was four minutes left when I came on and to score two tries was pretty special. I need to thank my teammates for that though, as they were the ones putting me in space and creating the opportunity to score. It was a great feeling."

The wing points to the importance of having good depth in the squad.

"You don't win tournaments like this with seven players only, we have to operate as a squad and I think we did that well," added Nel.

"Everyone contributed when asked. We have a structure and if you stick to it, chances are good that you will be successful."

The Wellington tournament was a milestone for wing Seabelo Senatla, who broke the team's all-time try-scoring record when he passed the 179 mark of Fabian Juries in the 26-5 win over Fiji in the Final at the Westpac Stadium.

Juries (925 career points) was also overhauled in the all-time scoring stakes by Du Preez (951 points). The sweeper is now second only behind injured teammate, Cecil Afrika (1167), but said the win was all that mattered. 

"It was good to be out there with the boys," said Du Preez.

"We stuck to our structures and worked hard, so the rewards were nice. We went into the tournament with a plan, we executed it well and it worked, so it is pleasing to be successful at the end of it."

Kok, whose 60 tackles in the Kiwi capital was the most in the team, said the victory was pleasing as it was reward for the work put in by the BlitzBoks.

"We worked hard for this so there is lots of joy in our hearts, that is for sure," said Kok, who pointed to the team's defensive structure for his impressive tackle count.

"We have a very good defensive structure in place and we focus on that. If everyone fulfils his role in that structure, it works well, like it did on the weekend."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 November 2017
Ulster v Treviso 19h05 Kingspan Stadium
Leinster v Dragons 19h35 RDS Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 19h45 Kingston Park
Sat, 25 November 2017
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 12h45 Welford Road
Bath v Harlequins 12h45 Recreation Ground
Italy v South Africa 13h00 Rome
Scotland v Australia 14h30 Edinburgh
England v Samoa 15h00 Twickenham
Wales v New Zealand 17h15 Cardiff
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 17h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Ireland v Argentina 17h30 Aviva Stadium
France v Japan 19h00 Paris
Sun, 26 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Liberty Stadium
Kings v Scarlets 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Zebre v Munster 13h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Allianz Park
London Irish v Wasps 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Fri, 01 December 2017
Kings v Edinburgh 17h15 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 24 November 2017
Cheetahs v Edinburgh 33 | 13
Sun, 19 November 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins 31 | 17
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 35 | 27
London Irish v Bath 18 | 22
Sat, 18 November 2017
France v South Africa 17 | 18
Scotland v New Zealand 17 | 22
Ireland v Fiji 23 | 20
Wasps v Newcastle Falcons 40 | 10
England v Australia 30 | 6
Wales v Georgia 13 | 6
Italy v Argentina 15 | 31
Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints 30 | 15
Fri, 17 November 2017
Gloucester v Saracens 23 | 17
Tue, 14 November 2017
France XV v New Zealand 23 | 28
Sat, 11 November 2017
France v New Zealand 18 | 38
SEVENS
MORE LOGS
Pool 0
Team P W D L Pts
Spain Sevens 0 0 0 0 20
Korea Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool 00
Team P W D L Pts
Chile 0 0 0 1 10
Papua New Guinea 0 1 0 0 1
Pool 19
Team P W D L Pts
England Sevens 0 0 0 0 19
Pool 20
Team P W D L Pts
Uganda Sevens 0 0 0 0 2
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Fiji Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Canada Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 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
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
United States Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 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
Russia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool
Team P W D L Pts
Wales Sevens
Hong Kong