Powell: USA will be a massive match

Sun, 05 Mar 2017 08:03
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REACTION: The BlitzBoks will have to show all their skill, courage and pride for the jersey if they want to trump hosts, USA, in the semifinals of the Las Vegas Sevens.

This is the view of Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell after the Blitzboks confirmed a top four spot for the fifth time in as many tournaments by beating Australia 17-14 in the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas on Day Two.

They now face USA, who earlier dumped Argentina, while Fiji and New Zealand will contest the other semifinal.

"This will be a massive match for us as the USA will be pumped by the big crowd and their desire to win their first home tournament," said Powell on the showdown.

"The USA team is packed with game breakers and with the support from the locals will be a tough opponent. We did not come here to lose though, so will have to be at our best for that one if we want to play in the final later," Powell said.

The BlitzBoks made it into the final four of the series for a fifth consecutive time, courtesy of a hard-fought win over Australia in the Cup quarterfinals and Powell praised his team's composure in the final minutes. 

"It was a nervous last couple of minutes, but I am very proud of the way the guys responded when under severe pressure. The Aussies were very determined and motivated to get the result and for us to defend our line and the result in those last minutes made me a happy coach," he said.

A late try by Rosco Speckman, his fourth in the tournament, edged his team into the lead and determined defense by the BlitzBoks in the final minutes of the match secured the win.

Blitzboks captain, Philip Snyman, acknowledged the effort from their opponents.

"We knew this was going to be a hard one, Australia are a class team and they gave it their all," said Snyman, who has made 15 tackles, the most for his team so far.

The captain admitted that they were forced in unnecessary mistakes and did not play a faultless game.

"We gave away a lot of penalties and that kept them in the game, but we got our composure back when it mattered and our defence kept them out when they needed the winning score," a delighted Snyman said.

"When you give away so many penalties, you lose control of the game, so that is something we need to address before we face the USA in the semifinals. Our discipline will have to be much better, come that match."

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