SA Rugby Sevens Academy bag title in France
May 28, 2017
The SA Rugby Sevens Academy on Sunday won the Howard Hinton Sevens in Tours, France by defeating a New Zealand Select 22-7 in the final to round of a great week for SA Rugby’s sevens programme. Last Sunday, the Springbok Sevens team were crowned HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champions and today the feeder system proved efficient as well, with the Academy side winning in Tours.

SA Rugby Sevens Academy manager, Marius Schoeman, was pretty pleased with the performance and determination of his squad.

“We played against a very good team from New Zealand in the final and won well, so it was pretty pleasing, even more so because we did it with such a young squad. It was their first tournament of the year, so they had to learn quickly,” Schoeman said.

The South Africans suffered a number of injuries at the tournament and entered the final with only nine fit players and without regular playmakers Dewald Human and Sandile Ngcobo, who was ruled out for action on the last day.

Human, Ngcobo and Marco Labuschagne joined the team in France after the last tournament in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in London, where they represented the Blitzboks, the overall series winners of the 2016/17 series.

“With the senior guys out, we had to rely on the young guys and they did not disappoint. They made the step-up when it mattered. Also pleasing was the fact that the players already in our youth system, like JC Pretorius, Heino Bezuidenhout and Mfundo Ndhlovu, excelled again. They were part of the squad that won gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa in 2015 and it is a compliment to our structures to see their progress.”

Schoeman believes that a number of the players will be able to contest for places in the Blitzboks squad in future. “That is our mandate and I am pleased that we are doing exactly that,” he said.

In the final, Mosolwa Mafuma was first on the score board after a strong dash down the line. The New Zealand side were one man down due to an early yellow card and the South Africans worked the numbers, with Mafuma too fast and strong for the cover defence. A good break by Heino Bezuidenhout saw Mfundlo Ndlovu race 70 meters to score, but he was injured in the try-scoring act. Tythan Adams converted to give South Africa a solid lead at the break.

A sniping break down the blind side by Mike Mavovana opened the scoring for South Africa in the second half and extended the lead to 17-0. He also had a hand in the final try to South Africa, sending Sokoyisa Makata through a gap. Makata still had some work to do but finished well to extend the lead to 22-0.

Hard-working JC Pretorius was handed a yellow-card for not releasing and the New Zealand representatives could put together enough phases to take advantage of this, but the hard work was done and Schoeman and coach Paul Delport could give their high-fives with a big smile on their faces.

Earlier on Sunday the SA Rugby Sevens Academy made it to the final by beating Seven Elite Basque 12-0 in the semifinal.

On Friday, the team won pool matches against Belgium and Seventise and on Saturday beat Midi Pyranees and won their quarterfinal clash against Free Sevens 28-7.

The Castle Lager Rugby Championship
Saturday, August 18 2018
17:05 - South Africa vs Argentina
Jonsson Kings Park, Durban
Saturday, August 25 2018
21:10 - Argentina vs South Africa
Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza
Saturday, September 08 2018
12:05 - Australia vs South Africa
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Saturday, September 15 2018
09:35 - New Zealand vs South Africa
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Saturday, September 29 2018
17:05 - South Africa vs Australia
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, PE
Saturday, October 06 2018
17:05 - South Africa vs New Zealand
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Castle Lager Outgoing Tour
Friday, November 02 2018
00:00 - England vs South Africa
Twickenham, London
Saturday, November 10 2018
00:00 - France vs South Africa
Stade de France, Paris
Saturday, November 17 2018
00:00 - Scotland vs South Africa
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Saturday, November 24 2018
00:00 - Wales vs South Africa
Principality Stadium, Cardiff

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