Blitzboks face tough new season

Blitzboks captain Philip Snyman and Cecil Afrika hold the trophy after being crowned World Series Champions at Twickenham, London, on Sunday
Picture: Jordan Mansfield / The RFU Collection via Getty Images

Sevens champions will contest World Cup and Commonwealth Games next year

Now that the Blitzboks have risen to the summit of the World Sevens Series‚ a new goal will be to stay there because next season presents massive challenges.

The Sevens World Cup takes place in San Francisco next year‚ in a season which also includes the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast‚ where South Africa are the reigning champions.

Neil Powell’s side have set a new bar with unprecedented consistency‚ coupled with ruthlessness in 2016-17.

The Blitzboks claimed five of the 10 titles this season‚ and also made eight finals.

They won 82% of their matches – 49 out of 60 with 10 defeats and a draw – and collected 192 log points.

Nearest challengers England lost 14 of their 58 matches with two draws for a 72% winning ratio, while Olympic champions Fiji lost 16 of their 58 matches with one draw – a 71% winning ratio.

Chris Dry and Rosko Specman were also both included in the Sevens Dream Team named after the final leg in London.

The rest of the team comprised two Fijians, Kalione Nasoko and Jerry Tuwai, two Americans, Danny Barrett and Perry Baker, as well as England’s Dan Norton.

ý The dates for the 2017-18 World Sevens Series have been confirmed by World Rugby, with Cape Town set for December 9 and 10.

It is the second leg of the series following Dubai a week earlier.

After years of dismal crowds, Wellington in New Zealand has lost out on hosting the fourth leg of the series. That will move to Hamilton.

Teams participating in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia in mid-April will travel via the Hong Kong tournament‚ which takes place on April 6-8.

With player welfare considerations at the forefront of schedule planning‚ rest weeks mean the Paris Sevens takes place later than usual on May 26 and 27‚ before teams travel to London, where the season will come to a crescendo at Twickenham on June 2 and 3.

The focus will turn to the US west coast on July 20-22 for Rugby World Cup Sevens at the iconic AT&T Park‚ home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team.

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