Photo by Mike Lee/KLC Photos for World Rugby
The SA Rugby Sevens Academy squad started off strongly at the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens International Invitational tournament at The Sevens Stadium on Thursday, easily winning both their matches.
The side, laden with experienced Blitzboks, outplayed the Rambling Jesters 40-0 and French Military 22-0 on the first day of their tournament and impressed on attack and defence – they scored 10 tries without conceding a single point.
Angelo Davids was the most productive attacking player, scoring three tries on the day. They face Russia in their final pool match on Friday before the knock-out later in the day.
SA Rugby Sevens Academy assistant-coach Sandile Ngcobo was understandably pleased with the effort shown by the troops.
“We hit our stride early and all targets set for day one were reached, so we are happy overall,” said Ngcobo.
“One of our goals on defence was for the guys to feel safe in the system and that worked out nicely for us. Each of the guys in the squad had certain roles and responsibilities and I am pleased to say they executed in that regard. It is never about the individual, always what is best for the system and everybody played their role.”
Ngcobo said the second day will bring more pressure, but they don't mind that: “That is why we want to wear the Springbok badge, to deal with that pressure of playing for your country. The guys are all keen to get a crack at the squad for our home tournament next weekend, but realise you have to work inside the system to be successful.”
SA Rugby Sevens Academy 40 (26), Rambling Jesters 0 (0) – Tries: Mfundo Ndhlovu, Stedman Gans, Cecil Afrika, Impi Visser, Angelo Davids, Malcolm Jaer. Conversions: Afrika, Branco du Preez (3), Jaer.
SA Rugby Sevens Academy 22 (12), French Military 0 (0) – Tries: Stedman Gans, Angelo Davids (2), James Murphy. Conversion: Cecil Afrika.