The Blitzboks only won two tournaments – the first of the season in Dubai and the last in Paris. In between they made eight more semi-finals‚ five finals‚ were third three times and fourth twice.
In the ruthless knockout environment of the World Cup in San Francisco in July the Blitzboks managed a bronze medal and at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast‚ they missed out on a medal altogether.
That was a disappointing return but the World Series is a true measure of a team’s ability over the course of a season and on that score the Blitzboks excelled.
The Sevens Academy‚ based at the Stellenbosch Academy for Sport (SAS) is where the Blitzboks’ successful blueprint is designed and implemented.
Powell and Academy SA Rugby’s Sevens High Performance Manager Marius Schoeman drive it.
They had the vision to establish the centre on a shoestring budget in 2010 and they now contract 28 sevens players. It was that depth that won the World Series in 2018.
“We were the first sevens Academy in the world and England followed us‚” Schoeman said.
“New Zealand and Australia are starting academies. Fiji are the exception‚ but they have their own in-built academy‚ which is their genetics. They are incredible athletes.”