Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu heaped praise on his squad as South Africa finished in second place in the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series. New Zealand won the series, with Fiji coming in third.
The team needed to make the Cup quarter-finals in the last tournament of the current series, the Marriott London Sevens, to secure the second spot on the final log.
This was done on Saturday in pool play with wins over Australia and France and although the team lost 19-14 to England in extra time of their Cup quarterfinal and 22-5 to the USA in the Plate semi-final on Sunday, Treu was a very happy coach.
“Obviously the aim was to win the series, but a range of crippling injuries and some inconsistent performances in Dubai, Wellington and Hong Kong cost us. It was very special though to be the only team on the circuit to win three tournaments and the only one to win consecutive ones,” Treu said.
South Africa finished 5th last year and Treu attributed the improvement to the players commitment and hard work.
“We lost so many players due to injury at crucial times, but still the squad kept on working hard to achieve the results. We had our two main playmakers, Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez available for only four tournaments this year. The fact that we used 23 players is testament to the injury problems we had.”
Eight players debuted during the current HSBC Sevens World Series.
“I am pleased for the new guys and it is building depth with regards to the future. The series was tougher than ever and for us to win three tournaments was special. I believe our season was a success,” Treu said.
The player used were Chris Dry, Philip Snyman, Frankie Horne, Cornal Hendricks, Kyle Brown, Stephan Dippenaar, Paul Delport, Tshotsho Mbovane, Steven Hunt, Bernado Botha, Cheslin Kolbe, Cecil Afrika, Jamba Ulengo, Pieter Engelbrecht, Brando du Preez, Ruwellyn Isbell*, Seabelo Senatla*, Justin Geduld*, Warren Whiteley*, Werner Kok*, Reuben Johannes*, Kevin Luiters* and WJ Strydom* (debutants).
Milestones of the series are:
•South Africa winning three tournaments in Las Vegas, Tokyo and Glasgow
•Frankie Horne extended the South African career record for tournament to 50. They were all consecutive, another milestone.
•Cornal Hendricks finished the season as the team’s leading try scorer with 38 tries, fourth on the overall list behind Brent Russell (46), Fabian Juries (41) and Cecil Afrika (40). His 190 points was also the most by any player this season.
•Kevin Luiters, Ruwellyn Isbell, Seabelo Senatla, Justin Geduld, Warren Whiteley, Werner Kok, Reuben Johannes and WJ Strydom all made their debuts for South Africa during the series.