South Africa Sevens look to farewell Powell in style

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Apart from hosting the tournament, South Africa will be farewelling their highly-respected and successful coach Neil Powell after the event.

 

They want to reward his tenure with the team by claiming the world title.

 

Provided both teams can get through their preliminary games in the knockout format, South Africa can expect to meet the All Blacks Sevens in the semifinals.

 

Forward Sako Makata, 23, told South African media, "We are trying to focus on what's happening on-field, not allowing the outside factors to influence us.

 

"But when we get the chance to reflect, it's a big loss for SA Rugby Sevens. Coach Neil has been instrumental to our success. He has developed a system that has been very successful.

 

"He is a very good person, and a very good role model. He has helped a lot of the guys grow, not just as rugby players but also on a mental and emotional level.

 

"We can't let emotions take over now. We will handle it at the end of the season when we bid farewell. We will cry about it, but also reflect on the good times."

 

One of the Blitzbokke's most exciting players Angelo Davids, 23, has been with the Sevens programme since leaving school and has a strong connection with Powell.

 

"He was a father figure. When I came to Sevens, I needed that and that's what he gave me. He helped me do what I loved.

 

"My father walked out of my life at a young age, and I went looking for that fatherly love in other places. When I came here, he gave that to me.

 

"He just wants us to go out and enjoy ourselves. But still, I am emotional and I am going to miss him. He did so much for me," he said.

 

"It's difficult, but we have to focus on what we have to do this weekend."

 

Davids, who will be playing in his first tournament in Cape Town for the side, was also looking forward to playing alongside Sevens veteran Cecil Afrika, who will play for the first time since 2020.

 

"It is nice to have a guy like that back in the team. He is also bringing his own on-field specialities, so it's really exciting to have him back. He has always been such a lovely guy. He is always laughing and making jokes."

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