South Africa in action against Brazil
The captains of the national teams of Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, South Africa and Brazil.
Vuyo Zangqa, coach of SA Sevens Team with Dawie Jacobs at Embassy stand in VIP lounge
Ambassador Dawie Jacobs, Charge D’Affaires, Dr Luis Almagro, Uruguayan Minister of Foreign Affaires and his wife Marianne Birkholz (a South African lady) and their two sons
Front: Francis Trudell, Canadian Ambassador and his wife and daughter and in row behind them Gustavo Zerbini, President of Uruguayan Rugby Union (URU), Mervin Green, Director: Rugby Development, SA Rugby,Paco Invernizzi, President of Old Boys Club (hosts), Alejandro Agasti, Vice President of URU and Dawie Jacobs
The Punta Sevens is hosted by the Old Boys Club in Montevideo with the full support of the Uruguayan Rugby Union. Various international sides, including the Springboks and the All Blacks, have participated in the Punta Sevens in the 1990’s, but due to economic setbacks in this part of the world around 2002 less teams have been participating over the last few years. The presence of South Africa and Argentina in this prestigious tournament was a strong drawing card this year. Other national South American teams were Uruguay, Chile and Brazil. Brazil’s participation was of special interest since they will be hosting the 2016 Olympics where Sevens Rugby will be an Olympic discipline for the first time. There were 16 teams participating in the two competitions in this tournament: one for the national sides and one for leading provinces and clubs, mainly from Argentina and Uruguay.
The Argentinean team, UAR 7, surprised by beating the SA Academy Seven 25 -7 In the final. The South Africans were unbeaten until then and won their first match against the Argentineans by 17 - 10. Uruguay ended third in the tournament by beating Chile convincingly by 34 - 0. Uruguay only lost their two matches against South Africa and Argentina and their very young team, with the average age of 20.7 years, holds promise for the future – they kept SA to a draw (0-0) in the first half. Brazil, hosts of the 2016 Olympic Games, where Sevens Ruby will be introduced as Olympic discipline, fielded a good side and is clearly improving on their standard in the built up to 2016. Cheslyn Kolbe of the SA Sevens Academy team was awarded Best Player of the tournament.
All participants expressed their appreciation for a well-organized event and there was consensus that the players gained valuable experience in the built up to the next IRB circuit and in the longer term, the 2016 Olympic Games. For Uruguay it was a welcome opportunity to sharpen their skills since they have been invited by the IRB, together with 11 other international teams, to play in March this year in a tournament, taking place parallel with the IRB Hong Kong Sevens, to determine which three teams will join the IRB circuit.
The South Africans made many friends during their week-long stay in Uruguay and all rugby enthusiasts hope to see them again at the 24th edition of the Punta Sevens next year.
The event enjoyed prominent media coverage, written and electronic, especially around the presence of the South Africans, and had been televised by ESPN.