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Samurai triumph again


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sevens, Sharks on 13 Jan 2014 at 10:55
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

The SA Sevens development squad, playing as usual in “Samurai” guise, successfully defended their NBM 7s Premier League title in George this weekend, defeating the Unlimited Titans team 33-17 in the final to cap an unbeaten showing at the tournament. A young Sharks team, lead for the last time by Roelof Kotze, failed to make an impact this year.

The late decision to postpone the tournament to January, after it was initially scheduled to take place over the weekend of Madiba’s funeral, certainly dampened a fair bit of the hype that we saw around its first incarnation in 2012. Clashing so comprehensively with the “business end” of the Super Rugby pre-season, there was never any chance that any big name players from the 15-man circuit would make an appearance and the Sharks side that took part certainly had a very green look to it as a result; under 21 fullback Sean Robinson the only player in the group boasting any Super Rugby experience.

The Sharks drew with Western Province in the opener before thrashing Masakhane Old Boys to set themselves up well. They found the gulf in class a little too much, though, going down 7-45 to Samurai in their final pool game, to advance to a quarter-final against beaten finalists Unlimited Titans. Day two delivered similarly mixed results; they lost 10-19 in that quarter-final, but beat WP 19-12 in the Plate semi-final, before going down to Living Ball in the Plate Final, to ultimately emerge empty-handed (and in sixth place).

Kotze, something of a stalwart of the sevens coaching scene, will be leaving the Sharks (where he has played a key coaching role at the Academy) at the end of the month, to take up an exciting position as head coach of the UAE 15-man and sevens teams.

Sharks team: Henkie Groenewaldt, Mzo Mbona, Ray Williams, Shannon Rick, Jean-Luc Du Plessies, Sean Robinson, Alcino Izaacs, Louis Hazelhurst, Cameron Dunlop, Steward Jacobs, Lotter Pretorius, Alrin Eksteen.



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