The 37-year-old Deport took over the coaching reins of the side in 2017 and apart from HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments, guided the team to two Rugby World Cup Sevens and two Commonwealth Games tournaments. South Africa also won the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens Cup three times under Delport’s coaching.
“We want to thank Paul for his coaching tenure, he will be missed and hopefully he will not be lost to rugby completely,” said Mr Alexander.
“Paul has played a huge role in South African rugby, first as a player at age-group level – where he captained the SA Under-19 and Under-21 teams – and later as a Blitzbok player, where he was also captain of the national team.
“His coaching ability was soon recognised, hence his elevation to SA Rugby Sevens Academy coach and then the coach of our national women's sevens team. We want to thank him for his massive contribution in three different national set-ups. Not many can say that.”
Delport handed in his resignation earlier this month following the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament and said he has no regrets.
“I had a wonderful time working with an amazing bunch of players,” said Delport.
“It is a pity we could not quite complete our run to push for core status in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, but that is life.
“I was privileged to coach some exceptional athletes, worked with great people and make friends all over the world. I wish the team all the best going forward and hope they get all the support needed to become a full-time professional set-up again.”
SA Rugby’s High Performance Manager for Women’s Rugby, Lynne Cantwell, said it is important for the momentum picked up by the Springbok Women's Sevens to be sustained, adding that an announcement on Delport’s successor will be made in due course.
The women’s sevens programme was revived in January and the team played in five tournaments this year, with two more due for December, when they will play in the Emirates Dubai Sevens International Invitational and the HSBC Cape Town Sevens a week later.
“We are working closely with the Rugby Department at SA Rugby and the Springbok Sevens programme to ensure there is an interim coaching plan in place to help transition between cycles as best we can,” said Cantwell.
“I want to thank Paul personally as well, as he is an excellent coach and was fully committed to progress in the women’s game at a time that had multiple challenges.
“His willingness to hand over to the new incoming head coach will help keep the momentum going in the sevens programme, as we can’t afford to lose learnings from Paul’s experience. He helped scout for us at the recent Varsity Cup Sevens tournaments to help build the talent pool for the sevens game, and we will be inviting some of those standouts to Stellenbosch for a first training camp next month.”
The Springbok Women's training squad for the rest of the year will be named in due course.