Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell said it was great to be playing international rugby again, as his side took on Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe as part of the Rugby Africa Solidarity Sevens Camp tournament and delivered a clean sheet in results.

“It was a great day for us in many ways,” Powell said.

“We were really keen to play matches again after such a long break, not only to see where we are with our progress towards the Olympics, but also to see what we still need to work on. Both aspects were addressed today and we could not have asked for more.

“We did some good things, while we need work in other areas. We have more matches tomorrow and after that, we will have a clear idea on where we are. Overall, I am happy with the day’s effort,” Powell added.

The SA 1 side, coached by Powell, outplayed Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe in their fixtures on the first day, while SA 2, with SA Rugby Sevens Academy coach Sandile Ngcobo in charge, lost a close encounter to Kenya, but edged Uganda and the SAS Sevens Academy side (brief match reports can be found here).

Ngcobo was also pleased with the way his first outing in his new position went: “We did many good things today, a couple of returning players got valuable game time, while the youngsters in the squad learned valuable lessons of what is expected at his level.

“We need to make sure we build depth in order to serve the national team and I cannot fault the players in term of effort today. We made mistakes, but will learn from those,” Ngcobo stressed.

The teams will play another round of matches on Sunday. The SA 1 side will face the SAS Academy, while SA 2 will take on Zimbabwe in the opening matches. The six teams will then be ranked before the final match-ups are determined.

Siviwe Soyizwapi, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Pule Sibiya and Lubabalo Dobela picked up niggles during Saturday’s action and will be rested on Sunday.