Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell and captain Kyle Brown on Tuesday extended a massive thank you to all role players who contributed to their success at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The Springboks Sevens team arrived back in the country on Tuesday, following their best showing ever at the Games, winning the Gold Medal in Rugby Sevens as part of Team SA.
The team won all six their matches and outlasted the defending champions, New Zealand, 17-12 in the final. It was the first defeat to the New Zealand team at the Commonwealth Games since Rugby Sevens were introduced as one of the sporting codes in 1998.
The Gold medal follows the bronze medals won by the team in Delhi (2010) and Manchester (2002). “It was an awesome performance by the team,” Powell said shortly after the team arrived back in the country. “The guys really worked hard as a team to realise this dream we shared. We needed some special moments in the final against a very good New Zealand side and every player responded when called upon.”
Powell thanked the public and SASCOC for their support. “It was fantastic to be part of Team South Africa and to represent our country in a different sporting environment. We are just happy that we could have contributed to the overall effort.”
The coach also extended his gratitude to the Golden Lions and Free State Rugby Unions for releasing star performers Warren Whiteley and Cornal Hendricks to play in this event. Both are contracted to their respective unions and not to the Springbok Sevens, as the rest of the group.
“Cornal and Warren played a massive role in our success and contributed so much on and off the field, so we would like to thank the respective unions for releasing them to us for this period,” said Powell. Brown applauded the support they received from fellow Team SA members and the general public.
“We could almost feel the support from the people back home and it was great to be encouraged by the SA teams from other codes,” said Brown. “We would like to also use this opportunity to thank them for their marvellous support and to wish those who must still compete at the Games all the best.” Brown was injured during the final match and will undergo further medical treatment to his shoulder this week, where the full extent of the injury will be assessed.
The Springbok Sevens team will again assemble at their base in Stellenbosch on Monday to start preparations for the next HSBC Sevens World Series, starting in November.