Own Correspondent
Horse racing correspondent
2 minute read
14 May 2017
6:57 pm

All-conquering Blitzboks are the best in the world … by far

Own Correspondent

Neil Powell's brilliant troops win the Paris Sevens and are crowned the winners of the World Sevens Series title as well.

Rosco Specman's influence in Paris was instrumental to the Blitzboks' cause. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images.

The Blitzboks won their fifth title of the season and took an unassailable lead in the 2016/17 World Rugby Sevens Series in Paris on Sunday and will be crowned champions next week when the series concludes in London.

South Africa outplayed Scotland 15-5 in the final of the French tournament and increased their lead over their rivals.

They held a lead of 25 points over Fiji and 27 points over England coming into the Paris Sevens and now can’t be overhauled any more.

Earlier, South Africa beat Samoa and New Zealand to progress to an eighth final in nine tournaments and confirmed their standing as the world’s top team by some distance.

Blitzboks coach Neil Powell praised his players, management and support back home and said they are grateful for this victory, something that was worked on for three years.

“We are extremely grateful and blessed, the team worked for this for three seasons. Last year we came close, but this time we managed to do it,” Powell said.

“I have to give the guys credit, they are an incredible group that never feared hard work and they deserve this.

“We are also lucky to have management members back home and on tour who work incredibly hard for the team and I want to thank all for that. The support we get from SA Rugby is also instrumental in our success.”

Powell also thanked the supporters of the team, saying that they are trying to be a team for all the people in South Africa.

There was a sweet piece of history for the Blitzboks mentor too.

He becomes the first person to win the World Rugby Sevens Series as a player and as a coach.

Powell was part of the previous Blitzboks team that clinched the title in 2008/09 (with Paul Treu as coach).

“I am much more relieved now than in 2009 when I was a player. Back then I was just happy to win it,” said Powell.

“And feeling really blessed. We are not finished though, we want to finish the series strong next week in London and keep chasing that perfect game. We have high standards and keep pushing to improve as a squad.”

The team focus has always being inwards and that contributed to their success.

“We keep the standards high and it does not matter who our opponents are, we try and play to those standards. We pride ourselves on our defense and want to be clinical on attack. We don’t always get it right, but it does not stop of us from trying,” said Powell.

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