The Blitzboks enjoyed a record breaking return to action in the first of two Sevens World Series events in Dubai over the past weekend as they claimed their third tournament win in a row while also racking up a personal best 18 wins on the trot on their way to claiming the crown.
The South African side won a shortened 2020/2021 series due to the covid pandemic, with just two tournaments taking place in Vancouver and Edmonton in Canada in September.
The Blitzboks duly went on a 12 match winning run to triumph in both events comfortably, although regular World Series heavyweights Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, France, Samoa and Argentina were missing due to the pandemic.
The return of Fiji, Australia, France and Argentina to the Dubai event then added plenty of bite to the tournament, but the Blitzboks were unfazed as they powered to another six wins, including thrashing the USA 42-7 in the final to get their title defence off to a cracking start.
“It was a great tournament, I am really proud of the boys and it shows how committed this group is at the moment,” captain Siviwe Soyizwapi told The Citizen on Monday.
“Eighteen wins is a great achievement and reward for the hard work that has gone into the team and shows that the structures are in place, the implementation of processes is going well and the effort isn’t lacking in the team.”
With the previous best run of 16 wins in a row set by the Blitzboks on their way to their first ever World Series title back in the 2009/10 season, the question had to be asked if this was one of the best ever Blitzbok teams. Soyizwapi was quick to admit they still had a long way to go.
“This is a really good team with very talented and committed players. It’s really been a team effort, which hasn’t changed much and I think that is the success of this team,” explained Soyizwapi.
“But for me the 2016 to 2018 group is the gold standard, winning back to back World Series titles in 2016/17 and 2017/18 is really a high standard.
“This team is very good, but winning a world series with just two tournaments is pretty different to going through a whole season of 10 stops and winning back to back titles like that. So this team still has to prove themselves and I think that the 2016-18 group is a good standard to measure ourselves against.”
The Blitzboks now look ahead to their second event of the 2021/22 campaign in Dubai this coming weekend where they will aim to extend their winning run and try bag another tournament, which would give them the perfect start to their title defence.