“We executed that plan from our medical team with success,” said Blitzboks coach, Neil Powell, on the eve of the tournament, the fifth in the 2022 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
“We arrived early which helped, and we managed a defence and attack session, and both went well. We deliberately wanted to create high intensity early in the week and managed that. It was not perfect, but overall, I am happy with the effort the guys shown in those early sessions.”
The return of Fiji, New Zealand and Samoa will have a positive impact on the standard of the tournament, Powell feels, but there is no use focussing on them as they are not in Pool A, where the Blitzboks will face Canada, Kenya and USA on Saturday.
“It is not an easy pool and if you are not prepared well, you can easily trip over any of these three sides,” said Powell, making it clear that their focus is solely on the opening match, but he had no issues to discuss the strengths of the other two opponents.
“The last time we played Canada (in Malaga in January), the score was still 0-0 at the break and I am sure they will take a lot of confidence out of that performance. Our focus will be on that game and as always, we would like to set a standard for ourselves for the remainder of the tournament. So, we do target a good start.”
Powell noted the progress Kenya has shown in recent months: “Our matches against Kenya are always very physical and a true African derby. They are improving all the time and we need to make sure we play them on our terms.”
And according to the Blitzbok coach, the USA side remain one of the most dangerous, especially with strike runners such as Kevon Williams and Perry Baker.
“They have some players that are getting used to the World Series, but with pace like that you need to be very protective of your ball possession, because those guys can score from anywhere on the field,” he said.
The Blitzboks should progress to the Cup quarter-finals on day two if they stick to their gameplan and execute accordingly: “If we do the things well that we need to, the results will speak for itself, so the responsibility is ours to maintain the standards that made us successful so far this series,” Powell said.
All matches will be live on SuperSport.
Blitzbok fixtures – Saturday, 9 April (SA time)
Springbok Sevens squad:
- Sakoyisa Makata - 13 tournaments; 55 matches, 40 points (8 tries)
- Ryan Oosthuizen - 27 tournaments; 133 matches, 145 points (29 tries)
- Impi Visser - 17 tournaments; 86 matches, 90 points (18 tries)
- Zain Davids - 28 tournaments; 141 matches; 130 points (26 tries)
- Christie Grobbelaar - 7 tournaments; 34 matches, 65 points (13 tries)
- JC Pretorius - 16 tournaments; 86 matches, 180 points (36 tries)
- Ronald Brown - 4 tournaments; 24 matches, 185 points (17 tries, 50 conversions)
- Selvyn Davids - 25 tournaments; 130 matches, 537 points (64 tries, 107 conversions, one penalty goal)
- Lubabalo Dobela - uncapped
- Dewald Human - 13 tournaments; 58 matches; 178 points (14 tries, 54 conversions)
- Siviwe Soyizwapi (captain) - 35 tournaments; 182 matches, 585 points (117 tries)
- Mfundo Ndlovu - 7 tournaments; 33 matches, 40 points (8 tries)
- Darren Adonis - 4 tournaments; 22 matches, 42 points (8 tries, 1 conversion)