And, according to Springbok Women’s Sevens co-captain Zintle Mpupha, it’s important that the players realise they can control what happens on the field when they take on Ireland and New Zealand in pool play on the opening day in Vancouver.

“We are not used to these conditions, the pitch is different and it is pretty cold, but those are things we can do nothing about,” said Mpupha.

“What we can control this weekend will be the effort we put in and the execution of our skill set. If both are done well, we will be able to deliver a competitive effort.

“There is good energy in the squad. We know what we want to achieve and that creates a good vibe in the squad. The squad want to keep improving and this is another weekend for us to showcase that.”

Mpupha said the only way to keep improving is playing the best teams and in Ireland and New Zealand, they have exactly that.

Ireland won a first HSBC SVNS title last month in Perth and New Zealand are the defending series champions. The Springbok Women’s Sevens have not won against the Black Ferns in six outings, although their last encounter in Dubai was desperately close.

“We have not played Ireland yet, but they are in good form as they showed in Perth, so that will also be a good opportunity for us,” said Mpupha.

“A lot of homework was done on them, and we watched a lot of footage on their play, so we come well prepared for this one. We have a plan and if we trust the system and game plan we will do well against Ireland, I believe.”

HSBC SVNS Vancouver women’s pools:
A: Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil
B: Australia, Fiji, Japan, USA
C: Canada, France, Spain, Great Britain

Pool fixtures (SA times, all matches on SuperSport):

Friday, 23 February
22h36: Ireland

Saturday, 24 February
03h08: New Zealand
20h59: Brazil