BLITZBOK coach Neil Powell has spent more time this week preparing his side mentally than physically for the challenge of the Sydney leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series.
After winning two of the three tournaments so far‚ the Blitzboks are well ahead of the chasing pack on 63 log points. Fiji are second on 51 and England‚ who are pooled with SA for second successive week‚ are third on 49.
South Africa’s 17 wins out of 18 matches shows they are the side to beat‚ but their stats also prove it. Most points (534)‚ most tries (84) and most tackles (394) demonstrates that they are the complete package.
Last week‚ on their way to the Wellington title‚ they conceded a meagre four tries in six matches which is unheard of at sevens level.
The Blitzboks have elevated the game to a new stratosphere and the other sides are all desperately trying to catch up. It’s inevitable some of them will. Pool rivals England are the only side to have beaten SA this season when they took the Cape Town final 19-17.
“We used the early part of the week to get the guys back to zero and back to basics following our good showing in Wellington last week‚” said Powell.
“The second part of the week was used to bring back the smiles and energy. The guys need to start thinking about this tournament now and how they are going to enjoy it.
“We have set a high bar for ourselves as a team and we know we are not ticking all the boxes yet‚ so there will be no slacking off. We need to keep on improving if we want to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves.”
Powell believes their opponents will generally be better prepared this weekend. The Blitzboks face Japan‚ Kenya and England in Pool A of the tournament‚ to be played in the Allianz Stadium.
“All teams benefit from spending time together and especially Japan and Kenya will be better this week‚” Powell believes.
“England will also be fresh and will benefit from the fact that they only played five matches in Wellington after being knocked out early in the tournament. So overall it will be a tougher ask than last week.”
Although they have reached all three finals in the 2016/17 series‚ the Blitzboks’ aim at this stage is to ensure they reach the Cup quarterfinals.
“Yes‚ we want to be consistent and if we keep our momentum from last weekend‚ we should be competitive. We need to get through day one first and that match against Japan will be our main focus‚” said Powell.
The Springbok Sevens squad for the HSBC Sydney Sevens is (with tournament caps and career points):
1. Chris Dry (55‚ 390)
2. Philip Snyman (captain‚ 40‚ 241)
3. Dylan Sage (10‚ 50)
4. Kwagga Smith (27‚ 260)
5. Werner Kok (22‚ 270)
6. Siviwe Soyizwapi (5‚ 45)
7. Branco du Preez (48‚ 951)
8. Rosko Specman (16‚ 203)
9. Justin Geduld (28‚ 627)
10. Zain Davids (1‚ 0)
11. Seabelo Senatla (32‚ 900)
12. Ruhan Nel (14‚ 140)
13. Stephan Dippenaar (29‚ 205)*
SA Playing Schedule (SA times)