- After dominating the World Sevens Series circuit and turning into a Blitzbok great at an early age, scoring 224 tries in 203 matches, Senatla is now aiming for the Springbok jersey.
Blitzbok and Stormers flyer Seabelo Senatla is determined to prove himself worthy of Springbok selection next season.
The Welkom-born super-star was again on point when he scored a 75-metre breakaway try in the final against New Zealand in Dubai.
The Blitzboks took the Dubai Rugby Sevens title after a dominant 15-0 win over New Zealand in the final. Having finished a relatively lowly fourth in the world series last season, the 2017-18 champions laid down a marker at the earliest opportunity in the new campaign.
Dubai is the first leg of the world series. Now they will head home to a country still basking in the glory of their World Cup win in the 15-a-side game for the second leg in Cape Town last week.
This tournament marked the return of Senatla and Specman from the longer format. They will not be available for every tournament on the series, as they return to their Super Rugby franchises.
The return of Senatla was most welcomed by coaching staff and fans, which comes as no surprise having cemented his name in the national team a long time ago.
The former Junior Springbok wing made his name on the World Sevens Series circuit, turning into a Blitzbok great at an early age by scoring 224 tries in 203 matches – sitting fourth overall on the top try-scorers in sevens history.
Senatla is also a Commonwealth Games gold medallist with the Blitzboks and a bronze medallist from the 2016 Rio Olympics.
However, after tasting as much success as he could in the shortened form of rugby, he recently turned his attention to 15s, playing for the Stormers and Western Province on a more regular basis to achieve his ultimate goal of becoming a Springbok.
Speaking about the victory, Senatla conceded that it was a tough outing and stated that the team expected nothing less.
“Going up against the All-Blacks will forever be a tough outing and that’s what makes the victory even sweeter,” he said.
Reflecting on his chances to play for the national team, Senatla noted, “It’s every player’s dream to play for the Springboks. I’m no different. I also want to see myself there one day. My aim at the moment is to perfect my game and make sure that when the times come am up to the task.”
The final saw the rare occurrence of the All Blacks Sevens side being held to nil, much to the delight of captain Siviwe Soyizwapi.
“We call ourselves a defence team because we are proud of our defence,” said Soyizwapi, who celebrated his 27th birthday by scoring a try in the final.
“I’m proud. We wanted to play as a team,” pointed out Soyizwapi who was also proud that they kept New Zealand scoreless for the first time in 19 years in this final.
The winner will be a huge confidence booster ahead of the Cape Town leg of the tournament starting today (Fri).
“We will be very keen to play at home,” Soyizwapi revealed.
Earlier, SA surged into the final of the Dubai leg after beating Samoa 38-7 in their semifinal thanks largely to a thunderous performance from forwarding Ryan Oosthuizen. He proved instrumental in both attack and defence.
England won the bronze after winning 17-14 against Samoa.
In the women’s final New Zealand beat Canada 17-14.