Commonwealth Bronze For South African u/18 Sevens In Trinbago

The South African U18 Sevens team claimed the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago after a number of comprehensive victories and two close defeats over three days.

The team – coached by Marius Schoeman, SA Rugby’s High-Performance Manager for Sevens – started the competition on Sunday with victories over Jamaica (63-0) and Trinidad and Tobago (59-0), and followed that up with a 38-0 win over Canada on Monday.

However, in their penultimate pool game on Monday, Scotland beat the SA U18s, 19-17, in a match where the South Africans were often left perplexed by some of the calls by the match officials.

Their final pool game, on Tuesday, also ended in defeat, 17-10 to Fiji, which meant Schoeman’s team had to play for bronze, where they again got the better of Canada, 52-0. Scotland edged Fiji, 25-20, to take the gold medal.

Schoeman said afterwards they would had dearly wanted to play in the final.

“We started very well in our first three games, scoring 24 tries and 160 points without conceding any points,” said Schoeman.

“The Scotland game was tough for us and that probably ruled us out of playing in the final. We took the bronze and the guys were a bit disappointed as it’s not what we came here for, but this was a fantastic opportunity to get to know some of the young guys and spend time with them.

“A few of the players showed they might have a possible future in sevens and they would also have learned a lot from the exhausting travel here, playing in very hot and humid conditions and dealing with some logistical challenges.

“But no excuses from us – despite everything we could still have won gold or silver and I was very proud of the way in which they made a step-up in the last game against Canada to record yet another big victory.”

The sevens team will now return to South Africa and two players, Gino Cupido and Marno Stopforth, will join the SA U18 squad for the U18 International Series against England and France upon their return from Trinidad & Tobago.