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For the fourth time in five tournaments, South Africa is the champion. The Blitzbokke finished the weekend 6-0, but it wasn’t easy. They struggled against Wales in the end of pool play and had to grind out three-consecutive one-score wins against Australia, host USA and New Zealand, in the knockout stages.
The win is especially notable because they did it, for the first time this season, without the top try scorer in the world in Seabelo Senatla and one of the hardest men on the circuit in Kwagga Smith, both of whom have traded in their 7s credentials for Super Rugby contracts.
“Sometimes we lose one or two big names from our team and it depends how you take it,” said Rosko Speckman. “It can be a negative or a positive. We take always take everything as a positive because we want to make sure for the whole year we keep working hard and stick to our structure.”
Because the Blitzbokke have started so incredibly well, they came into Las Vegas with a target squarely on their backs.
“I think there’s always pressure on us. You come to a tournament to prove something, and to lose to two top guys like Kwagga and Seabelo is quite a blow, but I think the depth on the team is quite good,” added Werner Kok. “I think the guys showed over the weekend that we can do it, but we have to work hard around the pitch and things will go well for us.”
While much of the rest of the World Series teams are only just now getting over their Olympic hangovers, South Africa has been at top form all season. Kok credits the team’s chemistry and culture for the success.
“I think the big thing is we had to recuperate and we’re just having so much more fun these days, playing for each other,” he said. “We’re not worrying about anyone else, just ourselves, and I think that’s been paying off for us.”
The win also makes South Africa the most successful team in the history of USA Sevens. In the tournament’s 14-year history, no one has won it more. South Africa now has four USA Sevens titles. Fiji comes in second with three.
The Blitzbokke will try to make it five-from-six in Vancouver next weekend.