EP Sevens slip up at final hurdle

Eastern Province captain Litha Adam says his side’s lack of proper communication was the determining factor in their 38-21 defeat to Free State in the final of the U17 Interprovincial Sevens rugby tournament.

Free State held their nerve on an exciting second day at the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds in Potchefstroom on Saturday to take the Cup after toppling EP in the final.

Free State completely dominated the first half to build up a 33-0 halftime lead.

EP fought back with three converted tries, while limiting the men from Bloemfontein tojust one second-half try.

“We definitely had the hunger to take the final but I think our communication let us down,” Addam said.

We managed to give them a good run, but in the end, the miscommunication was something that proved to be our stumbling block.

“I am happy for the boys, because we thought we would come short, but as we played more games, our confidence grew and we started to believe that we could go on and win the tournament.

“Our main aim was to show the rest of the rugby fraternity that we have the talent to do well, we just need to put our minds to it,” he said.

Head coach Beän van Eeden said the team played well in the lead-up to the knockout rounds, and that “everything went according to plan”.

“The team was very well balanced. The player attributes really complemented each other well, which in turn contributed to the good results.

“In both the pool and knockout rounds we generally started very slow and then ended strong, which unfortunately carried over to the final where we left ourselves a lot to do going into the halftime break 33-0 down,” he said.

Van Eeden said a strong second-half showing was not enough as the team ran out of time to haul back the match.

He said they started the tournament well, beating South Western Districts 33-0 to set the tone for the rest of the competition. Their 29-14 win against the Blue Bulls was also a feather in the team’s cap as they ran out victors against a very physical Pretoria outfit.

Van Eeeden said the future of U17 EP Sevens rugby looks bright with two U16 players playing pivotal roles in the team’s run to the final.

Western Province defeated the Golden Lions 24-19 to win the Plate final, the Sharks overcame a strong challenge from hosts the Leopards for a 19-14 win in the Bowl final and the Pumas defeated Griquas 24-14 to take the Shield.