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'Flush it and move on': ABs 7s star 'gutted' after loss to RSA

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The All Blacks Sevens have failed to top their pool at the Sydney Sevens after losing to South Africa 17-14 in a thriller.

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But it doesn’t change anything, at least not for them – that’s just sevens.

New Zealand and South Africa were both undefeated after two games at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium, which set up a titanic tussle between two fierce rivals.

It’s impossible to be disappointed when these two proud rugby nations go head-to-head; their rivalry is box office, and rugby fans witnessed another classic on Saturday.

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After a tense start to the match, sevens veteran Joe Webber danced his way through the South African defensive line to open the scoring for the men in black.

But the Blitzboks weren’t done. The South Africans hit back before the end of the half through Shilton van Wyk, before Ricardo Duarttee slotted a conversion attempt from the right sideline.

Incredible.

The teams traded another try each throughout the second half, before the most dramatic finish possible was written into the script.

With the scores level, South Africa were awarded a penalty – which Dalvon Blood slotted from close range to give his side a 17-14 win.

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Another classic clash between the two rugby-mad nations was written into history, as the All Blacks Sevens were left to rue what could’ve been.

Playmaker Joe Webber walked off the field with a stich, having pushed himself to limit throughout 14 minutes of unmissable rugby action.

But the 29-year-old was still able to give a raw reaction to the three point loss, immediately after heading down the tunnel at the North-West corner.

“Pretty gutted. I thought we had it and it was just our own errors that let us down,” Weber told RugbyPass.

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“But always a great rivalry against South Africa, they always come out (with) their best against us.

“It’s always physical on the field but they’re actually all good as dudes off the field. We get along quite well off the field but once the whistle goes it’s all on.

“We believe we could’ve won that and you’ve still got to keep that belief in yourself.

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“Sevens is b***** hard these days, you could trip up to anyone, so the faster you flush it and move on to the next job, the better you back it up for the next game.”

But New Zealand’s Sydney Sevens campaign is far from over. In fact, it’s the start of a new beginning.

To an extent, how teams performed in pool play goes the window as knockout matches take centre stage.

For the All Blacks Sevens, they’re set to face another one of their sevens rivals Samoa in a quarterfinal on Saturday evening.

And it’s a match they’ll be desperate to win following last weekend’s heartbreaking defeat in the Hamilton Sevens final.

Earlier today, All Blacks Sevens captain Sam Dickson told RugbyPass that the loss Hamilton had “added fuel to the fire” ahead of their trip across the Tasman.

Weber, who played in his 50th tournament last weekend, described it as an “emotional week.”

“It was tough, especially Monday but when we watched the game again it just got us more excited for this weekend,” he added.

“It was a huge emotional week.

“Then just the real hype around the tournament and the games, so to back it up this week has been a bit of a challenge but I think we’ve pulled up alright.”

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Shaylen 4 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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J
Jon 10 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Ioane is going to be more than good enough to lock up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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