The South African Under-18 Sevens team did the country proud on the weekend by winning the gold medal at the African Youth Games in Botswana, but it was the way in which it was achieved that was particularly pleasing.
This was the opinion of Marius Schoeman, the SARU Sevens Academy Manager, after the schoolboy side returned home from Gaborone with a second gold medal in as many years. The team also won gold in the 2013 Australian Youth Olympics.
In Gaborone the South Africans coached by Gavin Beresford, scored 183 points without conceding any.
“Our defence was very good and that says a lot about the team’s attitude,” Schoeman reflected.
“The boys really played well, considering we only had four field sessions with them prior to the tournament.”
On day one, South Africa beat Kenya 30-0 and Madagascar 52-0, with Ivory Coast forfeiting their fixture. This placed South Africa in the semifinals on day two against Namibia, and to Schoeman’s delight the team continued their fine form to earn a 41-0 victory and a final berth against Kenya. With form and confidence counting in the team’s favour, they finished the tournament with their best result of the weekend, a 60-0 victory against Kenya.
“Kenya will be the African representative at the Junior Olympics later this year, so we wanted to make a statement when we faced them. The players did exactly what was asked of them in terms of implementing our game plan and that resulted in some great tries. What impressed me the most, however, was the fact that we did not concede any tries or points for that matter. We pride ourselves on our defensive system and the players can be very proud of themselves,” Schoeman said.
The gold medal winners are: Edrich Venter (Paul Roos Gym), Herschelle Jantjies (Paul Roos Gym), Edwill van der Merwe (Paul Roos Gym), Jaco Coetzee (Glenwood), Morne Joubert (Glenwood), Tshepiso Mahasa (Ben Vorster), Luigy van Jaarsveld (Marlow Landbou), Ivan Kunz (Tygerberg), Eduan Kuyter (Afrikaans Seuns), Grant Williams (Paarl Gym), PJ Toerien (Garsfontein), Marco Janse van Vuuren (Transvalia). Coach: Gavin Beresford (Tygerberg).