Vodacom Blue Bulls High Performance Manager Xander Janse van Rensburg expressed his satisfaction with the performance of the young and inexperienced Vodacom Blue Bulls team at the inaugural NBM 7sPL Sevens tournament that was played in George on the weekend.
The Blue Bulls finished in the top tier of the twelve team competition, which was won by Samurai, who beat a star-laden Toyota Cheetahs team in the final.
This earned the Samurai the first prize of R1 million.
According to Van Rensburg, the team did not disappoint.
“It was always going to be difficult to take on sevens specialists with only a limited amount of preparation, but our plan to expose some of our new recruits was a big success.
"They had to step up and did. Jesse Kriel was amongst the leading try scorers in the competition, but a whole lot of the other young guys also showed desire and skill. The positive feedback we got from the organisers and spectators was also appreciated.”
The Blue Bulls lost a close match to the Cheetahs on day one of the tournament and then went on to beat the Mighty Mohicans (a privately owned team) and Boland Kavaliers to qualify for the Cup semi-finals on day two.
The match against the Cheetahs went to the wire, but the Bloemfontein team scored late to win 26-19. The wins over the Mohicans (35-12) and Boland (49-21) were very convincing and all the skills came to the fore as the team started to find each other.
Clayton Blommetjies, Jesse Kriel, Shaun Adendorff and Jason Kriel were particularly impressive.
Day two saw the Blue Bulls up against the Samurai in the Cup quarterfinals. The Samurai is actually the SARU Elite Sevens High Performance Squad who lives and train together at the Stellenbosch Sports Academy under the expect coaching of former BlitzBokke Marius Schoeman and Neil Powell.
They are basically the next generation BlitzBokke and played some great rugby in defeating the Blue Bulls. They also won the national tournaments of Kenya in Nairobi and the Dubai Invitational Professionals earlier this year.
They managed to beat the Blue Bulls 12-7 in a tight affair which proved the credentials of the men in blue.
This lined the Blue Bulls up against Boland again in the semi-final of the Plate competition. Again the Pretoria side had too much pace and power for the team from Boland and won 22-7.
The Bulls then qualified for the Plate final and lost out to Living Ball, another privately owned team consisting of former BlitzBokke like Jonathan Mokuena and Alshuan Bock and Springbok veteran Stefan Terblanche. The final score was 24-12.