Man of the match at sevens final in Dubai commanding attention in more lucrative XVs game
Blitzboks coach Neil Powell wants Kwagga Smith to continue in sevens team until Tokyo 2020
Neil Powell hopes he can keep “phenomenal” Kwagga Smith in his South Africa sevens side up until the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
Powell has named an unchanged Blitzboks squad as they attempt to add a home title at the Cape Town Sevens this weekend to the Dubai title they won on Saturday.
It will be a 29th HSBC World Series tournament for Smith, who was named man of the match after the Blitzboks beat New Zealand in the final at The Sevens.
The inexhaustible forward has commanded attention increasingly in the more lucrative XVs game recently, and he said in Dubai he wants to represent the full Springboks at the 2019 World Cup, also in Japan.
Powell, the sevens coach, says it will be difficult to retain his services in the abbreviated format, but he hopes it can be done.
“He is a phenomenal player, phenomenal in both codes – XVs and sevens – and we are blessed we have someone like him in our system,” Powell said.
“Hopefully we can hang onto him until the 2020 Olympics. I think a lot of clubs out there are probably going to throw a lot of money after him, so hopefully we can hang onto him.”
South Africa hope to win back-to-back titles at the start of the new season, a feat that only just eluded them 12 months ago.
“A good start in Dubai is definitely going to help us in Cape Town, but I think we need to put it behind us,” Powell said.
“It is a special tournament for us, playing at home in front our own fans. Last year we slipped up in the final against England.
“Hopefully we can thank the crowd for coming out by going all the way this time around.”