“The Blitzboks have not only captured the very competitive HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series crown in 2016/17, they also captured the hearts and minds of all South African sports lovers with their success, so this award is just reward to them,” said Mr Alexander.
“It is a fantastic achievement, not only for SA Rugby, but also for the country. The Blitzboks showed what teamwork is all about, they showed what passion is all about and they showed that a South African sports team can be the best in the world. I would like to thank and congratulate coach Neil Powell and his management team, and also the players for this.
“One should not forget Steinhoff International and ASICS, the sponsors backing the team either, as they make it possible for the team to deliver exceptional performances in a highly competitive series.”
Mr Alexander also thanked the Department of Sports and Recreation: “We work well together and share a vision that our national teams should be a beacon of hope and inspiration to the nation. Nothing brings a nation together like sporting success and we are very proud at SA Rugby that one of our national teams could be that flag bearer for the country.”
Springbok Sevens captain Philip Snyman and the Blitzboks’ leading try-scorer of all time, Seabelo Senatla, received the award on behalf of the team.
“We are very proud South Africans right now,” Snyman said.
“The acknowledgement is a huge honour for the team. We represent and play for all South Africans, so to be recognized in such a way really means a lot. We are about to start the next series and this will motivate us even more to retain our series title.”
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for 2017/18 kicks off in Dubai on 1 December, with the HSBC Cape Town Sevens a week later on 9 and 10 December.