Brown: SA thrive on playing in Vegas

(IRB.COM) Thursday 23 January 2014
 
 Brown: SA thrive on playing in Vegas
Kyle Brown is set to play in his 37th World Series event this weekend

South Africa head into this weekend's fourth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Las Vegas, USA, off the back of an emotional Cup win on home soil in December.

Just days after the sad passing of Nelson Mandela, the blitzbokke came from 14-0 behind to beat New Zealand 17-14 and lift their first Cup of the season at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, sparking unforgettable scenes.  

Kyle Brown, who lifted the Cup as captain, now reflects fondly on that triumph and believes it has boosted his side's morale ahead of this weekend's tournament. 

"It was an incredible weekend to be involved with," said Brown, who is set to play in his 37th World Series event in Las Vegas. "We woke up on Friday and heard the sad news of Tata Madiba's passing and it was moving to say the least.

"To be involved in a weekend like that, where everything fell into place and worked out as it did, it was really something incredible and one of those unforgettable weekends.

"It didn't really sink in for a couple of weeks when we met people who had seen it, watched it on TV, those who helped and enjoyed the weekend with us. That made me feel really special and realise it was something different and incredible for our team.

"I think getting a tournament win anywhere is great for morale and great for us in terms of what we're trying to do in the circuit."

That win means Brown and his teammates now sit just two points behind the reigning Series champions in the overall HSBC Sevens World Series standings and are the only side other than New Zealand to have finished in the top four at each of the first three rounds.

It is that consistency which South Africa are looking for this season and South Africa have a rich history at the Sam Boyd Stadium, having won two of the last three tournaments in Las Vegas.

The narrow pitch is often a talking point but Brown believes that plays into South Africa's hands, and has done for those two previous wins here.

"The narrow pitch doesn't change our tactics, we are already a defence-orientated team and that is something we thrive on, which gives us a little bit of benefit here.  

"But because defence is so key for us, and with the pitch a bit narrower, it gives the opposition teams a little bit less space to work with and tightens the screws a bit."

Brown missed last year's tournament through injury but he is now fighting fit. Coach Neil Powell also welcomes back Seabelo Senatla into what looks to be his strongest side this season.

"We are nurturing a strong squad back in Stellenbosch, and I don't envy the coaches that have to make that team selection," explained Brown.

"To have guys like Jamba Ulengo at home, he has been showing some real class lately, but Rosco Specman gets his chance and we'll ease him into the game. To have Seabelo Senatla back with that kind of gas is another bonus, but he's been out for a while too so he's another one we want to ease in before we unleash him."

South Africa have been handed a tough draw following their win on home soil, facing pool matches with Wales, Canada and Kenya. 

Who will progress from that pool? You can follow everything throughout the weekend at irbsevens.com or follow and send your views on Twitter @irbsevens or facebook.com/irbsevens.

 

Las Vegas Sevens

Round 5
13-15 February 2015
Sam Boyd Stadium
City: Las Vegas
Capacity: 36,800

 
Pools
Pool A
TeamPlayedPts
RSA39
CAN37
KEN35
WAL33
Pool B
TeamPlayedPts
NZL39
AUS37
FIJ35
SCO33
Pool C
TeamPlayedPts
SAM39
ENG37
POR35
URU33
Pool D
TeamPlayedPts
FRA39
ARG37
USA35
ESP33
more
Photos
  • Cecil Afrika
  • South Africa won the USA Sevens
  • Zack Test, USA