Blitzboks coach Neil Powell and captain Kyle Brown have lamented the ill-discipline that blighted their Las Vegas Sevens campaign, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Ironically, before the tournament kicked off, Powell said that discipline would be a key focus for the side, particularly when it came to the knockout stage.
However, the Blitzboks conceded two penalty tries in their Cup semi-final against Australia – both as a result of dangerous tackles by Rosco Speckman – which ultimately cost them a place in the final.
‘Anybody who hears that we lost because of two penalty tries will realise very quickly that it must have been a discipline thing that got us caught up in that game,’ Brown conceded.
‘I think it was about six penalties and then yellow cards in a playoff game against Australia, a side that had been playing some great rugby throughout the weekend. It means you are not going to see yourself in the final and it is going to be very difficult to win almost any game if you are going to play like that.’
The Springbok Sevens went on to win the third-place playoff against the USA, but now find themselves five points behind log-leaders and eventual USA Sevens winners Fiji.
Brown said he was confident the Blitzboks could rectify their disciplinary problems ahead of this weekend’s Vancouver Sevens.
‘It is a couple of small things, it is not massive things. We did previously address this issue, which made it even more disappointing because it was a focus of the week. But we will have a look at it again going into Vancouver.’
Powell echoed these sentiments: 'We only have ourselves to blame for that game against Australia, if you give away so many penalties and yellow cards, you're not going to beat any team in a knockout stage. We'll have a few harsh words and look to rectify those mistakes. It was something we looked to address before, and at some stage there will need to be consequences if the guys aren't listening. We'll have a hard look at ourselves, we have to improve our discipline, especially when it comes to knockout games when we tend to lose our composure in the heat of battle.'
Photo: David Becker/Getty Images