A New Zealand team beating a South African one is nothing new, and the All Blacks Sevens side beating the Blitzboks at Cape Town Stadium shouldn’t be the major talking point from the second stop of the new Sevens season.
What left more of a mark on the tournament than a Ruhan Nel hand-off were the SA ‘fans’ who left Cape Town Stadium en masse after the Blitzboks’ Cup semi-final loss to the Kiwis.
It was a poor advertisement of fair-weather support for a team that, unlike the Springboks, has continued to reach new heights rather than sink to new lows. Bok fans stuck around at Newlands in October as Allister Coetzee’s men blew a perfectly good chance to get one over an All Blacks side on holiday, yet a similar, die-hard show of support for the Blitzies seemed too much to ask.
Where was that gees for SA sports teams that our fans love to brag about?
The reigning World Sevens Series champions blitzed Russia 40-5, France 31-5 and Kenya 26-7 in Saturday’s pool stage to advance to the Cup playoffs, but were uncharacteristically helter-skelter on attack and defence versus Fiji and New Zealand, paying the price against the latter.
Blitzboks coach Neil Powell, captain Philip Snyman and the boys who recovered to clinch the Bronze final against Canada deserved better than the cold shoulder from their sore-loser countrymen in the stands.
“You never learn as much from winning as you do from losing,” said Nel after the Blitzboks’ hometown disappointment. “So we’ll go back and look at our mistakes.”
Powell’s troops can certainly bounce back in Sydney on January 26-28, and Hamilton one week later. After losing to England in last year’s Cup final in the Mother City, SA won both legs Down Under, and then again in Las Vegas, which set them up to clinch the Series title four rounds later in Paris.
All for the pride of their country, but miles away from their family, friends and fans who will no doubt be back in 2018, at another sold-out Cape Town show.
Let’s hope you lot stick around next time!