Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell congratulated the All Blacks Sevens team after they were named winners of the 2019/20 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series on Tuesday.
World Rugby announced the cancellation of the remaining four tournaments of the World Series due to the COVID-19 pandemic and declared New Zealand as winners of the shortened series of six tournaments as they were top of the standings.
New Zealand had 115 log points, closely followed by the Blitzboks on 104. Fiji (83), Australia (81) and England (77) finished third, fourth and fifth respectively.
Powell congratulated All Blacks Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw and his squad for winning the title after consistently performing well during the series.
“New Zealand won three of the six tournaments and had two more podium finishes, which shows their amazing level of consistency during the season,” said Powell.
“After these performances, I think they deserved the title. We had tournament victories in Dubai and Los Angeles and made the finals in Cape Town and Sydney, but our below-par performances in Hamilton and Vancouver cost us.”
Powell said the news of the cancellation of the London, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong tournaments was disappointing but understandable.
“There was very good communication from World Rugby with the national coaches since the pandemic started, so we all knew that it was going to be a stretch to complete the season, if at all, and we know their decision was taken with the best interest at heart for all involved,” said Powell, who was pleased with their second-place finish overall and the way the team performed.
“We played some good rugby at times and I will consider the season as a success. Much of the World Series planning and performances were with the Olympic Games in mind, so I think we kept on track with what we planned in that regard and I would like to thank my management and the squad for the effort they delivered.”
Powell added that the cancellation of the World Series brought clarity for the team: “We can now cancel all provisional dates and start to plan for the next series. There will be new challenges and some new players, but that is an exciting prospect something we are looking forward to.”
Story Courtesy/SA Rugby