Focus key to success
It underlines the level of focus that the Blitzboks have that they did not even know they had already won the overall World Sevens Series title before their Paris leg semifinal against New Zealand on Sunday.
With nearest challengers England eliminated by Scotland in the first semifinal‚ their mathematical chance of winning the 2016/17 series slipped away.
But the Blitzboks were busy warming up for a tough match against New Zealand‚ and while some of the management knew England’s result‚ it was not passed on to the players.
And none asked about it either‚ preferring to stay focused on the job of beating their fiercest rivals.
That kind of concentration was a key to the Blitzboks’ success that brought a second World Series crown on Sunday‚ and the first this decade.
New Zealand were well beaten 26-5 and Scotland overcome 15-5 in the final.
It was fitting the overall title was secured with a fifth tournament win in an eighth final appearance this season.
“We actually did not know that England lost their semifinal match against Scotland as we were warming up for our semi against New Zealand‚” captain Philip Snyman confirmed.
“We knew that we would be series champions if we beat New Zealand‚ so went out with all guns blazing to win that one‚ which we did.
“We were champions already and did not even know.”
The series moves on to London this week for the season finale at Twickenham.
Snyman and his team could be forgiven if they took it slightly easy now that the World Series title is secure‚ but that is not in their makeup.
They are voracious winners and want to keep pushing for another tournament victory.
In 2001/02, New Zealand won seven tournaments in an 11-leg season.
But since the tournament has settled at 10 stops across the globe‚ six wins is the most any side has achieved. So there is a little bit of history for the Blitzboks to target in London if they can claim a sixth tournament victory.
After appearing in eight finals this season‚ South Africa are also closing in on the record held by New Zealand when they made nine finals in 2001/02.