The South African Sevens Elite Player Development (SA EPD) squad returned home unbeaten from Harare on Monday afternoon where they lifted the Spar International Sevens title on Sunday.
Paul Treu, the Springbok Sevens coach who accompanied the team to neighbouring Zimbabwe, used the tournament mainly to test the readiness of several Blitzbokke who recently returned from injury.
Treu declared himself happy with the performances of players such as Steven Hunt, Bernado Botha and Jamba Ulengo, while he was also pleased with the showings of youngsters WJ Strydom, Brandon Asherwood and Werner Kok.
The South Africans got the better of hosts Zimbabwe by 12-5 in the semi-finals before turning on the style to beat SA-based the Leopards 42-0 in the Cup final at the Harare Sports Club. The Zimbabwean Cheetahs lifted the Plate after edging Kenya 7-0.
Apart from the hosts and the SA EPD squad, several other international teams such as Georgia, Hong Kong, Kenya and Zambia played in the annual two day-tournament as final preparation for the demanding Hong Kong leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
It was an all-SA final as the SA development squad took on the Leopards, who had earlier beaten a reshuffled Kenya 10-7 in the other Cup semi-final, and the tournament win left Treu a reasonably happy man.
“We are pleased with the performances of the whole squad. Several players needed game time because of injuries or time away from action, so this exercise was much needed,” explained Treu.
The South Africans did however suffer a casualty. Forward Pieter Engelbrecht received a blow to the head and will undergo a scan late on Monday afternoon in Cape Town, shortly after the squad’s arrival back in the Mother City.
SARU will announce the 12-man Springbok Sevens squad for Hong Kong and Tokyo on Thursday at a press conference starting at 14h00 at the UWC Sports Stadium in Bellville.
The full results of the Spar International Sevens in Harare:
Pool A: Cheetahs 40, Zambia 0; Georgia 14, Zambia 7; Cheetahs 27, Georgia 7.
Pool B: Kenya 14, Hong Kong 12; Kenya 26, Zambezi Warriors 7; Hong Kong 26 Zambezi Warriors 14.
Pool C: SA EPD 45, Blue Bulls Academy 0; SA EPD 26, Leopards 21; Leopards 27, Blue Bulls Academy 0.
Pool D: Goshawks 21, SA Buffaloes 17; SA Buffaloes 19, Pumas 12; Pumas 17, Goshawks 14.
Quarter-finals: Cheetahs 35, Hong Kong 7; SA EPD 33, Goshawks 7; Shujaah 31, Georgia 5; Leopards 3, Buffaloes 0.
Cup semi-finals: Cheetahs 5, SA EPD 12; Kenya 7, Leopards 10
Bowl final: Goshawks 19, Buffaloes 12
Shield final: Hong Kong 21, Georgia 19
Plate final: Cheetahs 7, Kenya 0
Cup final: SA EPD 42, Leopards 0