Kwagga Smith, Seabelo Senatla and Kyle Brown will continue to pursue their fifteens ambitions and push for national selection in that code as well, but for now Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga Smith just love being Blitzboks again and what better way to celebrate their return to the team than winning the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens this weekend.
Before the weekend, both last played for the Springbok Sevens team in February, as the Blitzboks won both the HSBC Wellington Sevens and HSBC Sydney Sevens on route to the overall 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series title, so the win in Dubai yesterday made it three titles in three outings for the duo.
Senatla had a slow start at the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens, even dropping a ball with the try-line beckoning in their opening match against Uganda on Friday, but soon was back to his best. He scored a hat-trick in his next outing against Kenya and kept the tries coming, including vital five-pointers in the semifinal against Fiji and the final against New Zealand, to end the tournament as South Africa’s leading try-scorer.
Smith was brutal all weekend and also scored a try in the final. In fact, he was named HSBC Player of the Final and with Senatla and Cecil Afrika also made the Tournament Dream Team.
Senatla, who extended his national try-scoring record to 196 tries, admitted that he was rusty at the start.
“You have to get back into it, as the game keep on evolving. You need to keep on learning all the time. This is a special team and you want to play with these brothers. These guys rejuvenate me,” Senatla smiled.
Smith was equally pleased with the effort. “It is nice to be back. It is easy to shine, as the guy next you is doing the hard work in order to allow his teammates to play at their best. It was a good win, as we played against opponents with different styles and strengths. We managed to stick to what we wanted to achieve and scored a good win out there. We must stay humble though and keep on working hard.”
For veteran forward Kyle Brown it was a happy return also. He missed eight tournaments after snapping knee ligaments almost a year ago. “It was pretty incredible to be back. I was eased into action and I am grateful for that. Overall, we had some pretty awesome moments. We were fit enough and were lucky that conditions were pretty similar to our base in Stellenbosch. We were a bit rusty on Day One, but played well on Day Two and that will give us some confidence going forward,” Brown said.
The pools for the HSBC Cape Town Sevens have been announced. The first match on Saturday will start at 10h15 when Canada takes on Samoa.
Pool A: South Africa, Kenya, France, Russia
Pool B: New Zealand, Australia, Spain, USA
Pool C: England, Scotland, Argentina, Uganda
Pool D: Fiji, Samoa, Canada, Wales