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Powell Rues Silly Mistakes Against Fiji

Blitzboks out to get Fijians, Kiwis in Sydney
30 Jan 2019 10:00
Powell Rues Silly Mistakes Against Fiji
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s prop Sevuloni Mocencagi runs past South Africa’s Werner Kok during the Cup semi-finals of the New Zealand 7s on January 27, 2019. Photo: Bruce Southwick/ZoomFiji

 

The 29-7 scoreline handed by the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team South Africa in the Cup semi-final of the New Zealand shows the number of mistakes they’ve made, says Blitzboks coach Neil Powell.

He told IOL, they’ve moved up to fourth place on the Series standings, which is an improvement but it was overshadowed by their Cup semi-final performance against the Fijians.

The Blitzboks cruised past their Day One opponents as they defeated Kenya 29-10, schooled France 17-5 and overpowered Scotland 26-7 in the third of 10 tournaments, before overcoming Samoa- who had stunned England 12-10 on the opening day 28- 19.

But in the last-four challenge against the Pacific Islanders, the Blitzboks didn’t seem to have gone into the match with much of a plan on attack, while they also conceded a number of cheap turnovers.

Fiji – who ultimately went on to win the New Zealand event- thumped the South Africans 29-7 in their semi-final meeting before the hosts defeated the Blitzboks on a similar margin in the bronze final.

Powell said that- after finishing sixth in Dubai and third in Cape Town- his focus was more on improvement in terms of performance as opposed to results.

 

WHY WE LOST?

And while Powell lamented the mistakes his side made against Fiji and New Zealand, the fact that they managed to crack into the top four is at least one pleasing aspect gained in Hamilton.

The top four teams will automatically qualify for the Summer Olympics in Japan in 2020.  “We had a day of missed chances and silly errors and that cost us dearly,” Powell said.

“I don’t think Fiji and New Zealand are 22 points better than us, in fact, I feel we are pretty close to them, but the scores show how many mistakes we made.”

“We conceded yellow cards in both those matches and in each the opponents scored twice while we were a man down.

“We also did not look after our possession like we should.

“Against teams like these, you cannot defend 80 percent of the time and only attack 20 percent and expect a result.”

South Africa are determined to make amends at the Sydney 7s this weekend, and it’s a tournament the Blitzboks will target to check more performance-based boxes.

”Our squad came through the tournament unscathed and some of the other teams were not that lucky. We will have a good review of our performances and matches and take it from there.

“We are always looking for consistency and finishing in the top four is one of those boxes we want to tick. That was achieved and it was pleasing, but we will be looking for an improved effort in Sydney again.”

 

LEARN FROM MISTAKES

Blitzboks captain Philip Snyman lamented the missed opportunities that cost them in Hamilton.

“We had some early opportunities and did not take it,” said Snyman.

“Then we made a number of small errors and were punished. The fact is, we were not good enough on the day and we have no excuses.

“We need to learn from this and make sure we don’t make them again.”

– Edited by Grace Narayan

 

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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