SA Rugby to reveal Neil Powell’s Blitzboks successor after Sevens World Cup: ‘We’ve got the name’

  • Mark Alexander says SA Sevens head coach Neil Powell’s successor is known but will only be revealed after the Sevens World Cup.
  • Powell is set to pick up the Sharks director of rugby role full-time after nearly 10 years at the helm of the Blitzboks.
  • He won the World Rugby Sevens Series three times, an Olympic bronze and two Commonwealth Games gold medals in his tenure.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander says SA Sevens head coach Neil Powell’s successor is known but they’ll only reveal the identity once he’s completed the job, which is the conclusion of the Sevens World Cup.

Powell, a former Cheetahs scrum half in his playing days, is set to rejoin 15s full-time as Sharks director of rugby after nearly 10 years at the helm of the Blitzboks.

Powell was first appointed as Sharks defense coach last year before being elevated to the director of rugby position whilst completing his final year in Stellenbosch.

READ | Hype builds for Sevens World Cup in Cape Town and coach Powell’s swansong

Assistant coach Renfred Dazel could be in pole position to take over from Powell because of his intimate knowledge of the system and as a former Sevens player too.

“There’s a succession plan in place but we don’t want to release the name before Neil has completed his work,” said Alexander.

“We’ve got a good system and the academy works for us. Our Sevens system is excellent and it involves more than one person. There’re a lot of people working behind the scenes.

“We’ve got the name, it’s been out for quite a while but we want Neil to finish his job first and then we can focus on the next person.”

Powell took over the job from Paul Treu in 2013 and has since won the World Rugby Sevens Series three times (adding to Treu’s maiden one in 2009), an Olympic bronze and two Commonwealth Games gold medals.

The latest Commonwealth Games gold came recently in Birmingham, where they produced one of their greatest performances by blowing out Fiji in the gold medal final.

Alexander paid tribute not just to Powell but to former coaches Chester Williams and Treu, who laid the base for Powell’s exceptional tenure.

“The guys that have been involved in Sevens since its inception, Paul and [Chester] all complemented each other and brought different aspects,” said Alexander when asked if Powell was the greatest Sevens coach SA’s ever had.

“Sevens was ignored by the public at one stage and SA Rugby and those guys put sustainable systems in place, which we can be proud of.

“I commend all the people that were involved in the Sevens systems and bringing it to where it is today.

“Neil did an excellent job. The guys he’ll hand the baton to will do a good job as well.

“You can see the guys that come out of there, some go on to play for the Springboks. That’s a fantastic job.”

Powell will close his chapter at the end of the Sevens World Cup held in Cape Town next month.

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