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Blitzboks must bounce back to send Powell off on a positive note

Back in late January, before a two-month break in the World Sevens Series, South Africans were revelling in a record Blitzbok run that had seen them win six successive events, including the first four of the 2021/22 series.

They had racked up a record 34 straight wins in a row and enjoyed a massive lead on the World Series log standings.

However, just three series events later the Blitzboks have fallen dramatically to second in the World Series standings after a dreadful run that has seen them knocked out twice in the quarterfinals and not even making the Cup quarters for the first time since 2013.

The sudden downturn in fortunes for the Blitzboks has been alarming and has left many wondering what could be the reason for the disastrous loss of form.

Having extended their winning run to 36-games at the start of the Singapore Sevens in April, the Blitzboks’ record run was brought to a shuddering halt by the USA in their final pool game.

They were then beaten by Fiji in the quarters and Argentina in the fifth placed semis to make it three losses on the bounce.

In the next event in Vancouver the Blitzboks looked to be back to their best with three pool wins, but then lost against Samoa in the quarters before beating France and New Zealand to finish fifth.

The most recent event in Toulouse then saw them slip to even lower depths as they lost to Ireland, Samoa and Scotland and missed out on the Cup quarters. It was their worst tournament showing in almost a decade.

Some have questioned whether coach Neil Powell’s decision to move to the Sharks at the end of the current campaign has got anything to do with the slump in form, but it is unlikely as he announced last year he would be leaving the Sevens game.

Either way, it has been disappointing to see how quickly the team’s fortunes have changed. They now have the London and Los Angeles events left to get back on track and, hopefully, send Powell off on the right note – with a series win.

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