SX10 Head Coach Frankie Horne says having a core of 7s players in his squad was key to their World 10s Series success.
The Cape Town-based side missed the opening round and part of the second round after one of their players tested positive of COVID-19. They had to train in a bubble with the movement restrained to their hotel as quarantine requirements.
When they first stepped on the pitch they put up impressive displays and picked wins over Rhinos, Phoenix and Miami Sun. Their first and lone loss came in their match against Ohio Aviators in the league phase.
On the final day, they beat Asia Pacific Dragons, Phoenix in the knock-out stage to meet Ohio Aviators in the final stage where Collins Injera bagged a brace while Craig Hunt landed the winning try as they came from behind for a 21-14 victory.
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Horne had 7s stars Injera, Cecil Afrika, Luke Treharne, Willy Ambaka, Andrew Amonde, Oscar Ouma and Oscar Dennis in his squad and he revealed that their ability to deal with pressure made the side emerge top.
“The boys stuck to their guns. We knew we wouldn’t be able to outmuscle them so we had to find a way to outsmart them. We found a way to outmanoeuvre them, particularly in that second half and that was key in the end,” he told World 10s Series official website.
“I’m really proud of all the players because we knew after our first match against Ohio in the league that it was going to be a real physical battle and we stood up to that.”
“We have a core of 7s players, and it was key that we managed to be able to use that space when it opened up and allow our confidence to grow. Once we got that momentum, our confidence grew and we started playing with a lot more flair.”
“We have some seasoned campaigners who I knew wouldn’t panic when we went behind. These guys know how to deal with pressured situations, and it was about the guys just keeping their heads and sticking to the plan.”
“We were handed a lifeline to come back into this tournament after what happened with Covid situation and I’m just really proud that the squad came together and have achieved what they have.
“It’s a nice story that we’ve come away with the Cup after our start to the tournament.”
FORWARDS: Willy Ambaka (Kenya 7s), Andrew Amonde (Kenya 7s), Tienie Burger (Southern Kings), Cory Daniel (Old Glory DC), Frikkie de Beer (Utah Warriors), Marzuq Maarman (Real Oviedo), Harry McNulty (Ireland 7s), Oscar Ouma (Kenya 7s), Gary Porter (Ikey Tigers), Thinus van Zyl (Stellenbosch Academy)
BACKS; Cecil Afrika (San Diego Legion), Christian Ambadiang (Southern Kings), Oscar Dennis (Kenya 7s), JP du Plessis (NOLA Gold), Craig Hunt (Austin Blacks), Collins Injera (Kenya 7s), JT Jackson (Southern Kings), Dewald Naude (Maties), Luke Treharne (Wales 7s), Connor Wallace-Sims (Rugby United New York)