14 January 2014
The South African Rugby Union (Saru) Sevens Academy team’s victory at the George 7s PL tournament on Sunday brought the curtain down on an excellent seven-week run that included claiming three titles.
During that time the Springbok Sevens team also contested two finals, losing to Fiji in the Dubai Sevens final, but beating New Zealand a week later in Port Elizabeth to win the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens.
The Academy side, playing as Samurai, were coming off victory in the Dubai International Invitational in December and opened the new year with consecutive wins in the Punte del Este 7s and George 7s PL tournaments.
Saru Sevens Elite Player Development Manager Marius Schoeman, who coached the team on all three occasions, was thrilled with his squad’s efforts.
Benefit for the national team
“The better quality play we can deliver, the better it is for the national team,” Schoeman in a statement on Monday.
“The positive performances of the Academy side shows the depth we have in our structures, and it highlights the fact that players are really pushing each other for a place in the national side.”
A number of national contracted players featured in Mar del Plata and George, alongside young and rising stars, such as the 18-year-old Warrick Gelant, a South African Schools and under-18 player in 2013. Gelant will be among a number of new players who will this week undergo conditioning and rehabilitation training.
“It is important to create that winning culture in the program and to expose the next generation of players to the culture within the team and code,” Schoeman said.
In George, the Academy won the final against the Unlimited Titans, recording a 33-17 win. Earlier on Sunday, they came though the quarterfinals and semi-finals by beating Living Ball (19-0) and South Western Districts (26-0) respectively.
The Academy team’s next tournament is in March in Zimbabwe.
SAinfo reporter and SA Rugby