Blitzbok coach Neil Powell, left. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Blitzbok coach Neil Powell, left. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

It is a new season, but unfortunately for the chasing pack in the HSBC World Sevens Series the pattern is the same: the Blitzboks are out in front and everyone has to catch them.

Neil Powell’s team won the season-opening Dubai sevens to claim a maximum 22 log points to set them on their way in the 2017-18 campaign.

In the process they defended their Dubai title on Saturday for their fifth series win in the emirate by beating New Zealand 24-12 in the final. Before that they picked off Samoa (26-10) and Fiji (12-7) in the quarters and semis.

There were obvious signs of rust at the season-opening tournament‚ never more so than against Uganda in their opening pool match on Friday, which ended in a narrow 19-10 win.

It was never going to be perfect in the opening weekend. Yet there were moments when the Blitzboks were simply sublime.

Thrashing a good Kenya team 48-5 was perhaps the most complete performance of the weekend while their suffocating defence and relentless pressure in the first half of both the semifinal and the final showcased the Blitzboks at their best.

Seabelo Senatla underlined his class with seven tries to move into the top five try scorers of all time on 196‚ while Cecil Afrika pulled the strings with his playmaking ability and Kwagga Smith added power and guile.

The Blitzboks’ squad depth was a key feature of their success. When Justin Geduld replaces Afrika‚ or Rosko Specman comes on for Branco du Preez‚ it’s disheartening for the opposition.

"There was a lot of expectation going into this tournament and it’s incredible how the players got up and matched it‚" coach Powell said.

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