Proper time to prepare for the last two legs of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series could prove vital for the final push of the Springbok Sevens team towards winning the overall 2016/17 series, says Blitzboks coach, Neil Powell.
The fact that he could start preparations back in Stellenbosch with all available players fit and ready helped in getting the squad ready for the HSBC Paris Sevens that kicks off in Stade Jean Bouin on Saturday.
“This was one of the first preparation camps where we had all 13 players fit and able to train. I had individual chats with all the guys and they really are full of motivation and keen to get going,” Powell said.
“These are the last two tournaments of a long series, so it’s always a challenge to get the guys up for it. But the energy levels are definitely up and I am confident that the guys will put in the effort.”
The coach, who is looking to become the first person to win the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series as both player and coach, has no illusions though on how tough the opening day will be in the French capital.
South Africa plays Scotland, Japan and Canada in Pool A of the tournament.
“Scotland are always a tricky game to play first. They play a good brand of rugby, mixing up attack and keeping the ball alive very well. Japan can challenge any team on the day if they pitch up and the last one of the day against Canada will be a very physical affair. Canada will play nice and direct and we need to be up to it if we want to get into the Cup quarterfinals,” the coach warned.
Saturday 13 May 2017
South Africa vs Scotland 11h28
South Africa vs Japan 14h54
South Africa vs Canada 18h42
The Springbok Sevens team for Paris (with tournaments and points) is:
- Chris Dry (60, 435)
- Philip Snyman (45, 276, captain)
- Dylan Sage (15, 90)
- Ryan Oosthuizen (2, 0)
- Werner Kok (27, 320)
- Siviwe Soyizwapi (10, 140)
- Branco du Preez (53, 1026)
- Tim Agaba (9, 30)
- Dewald Human (0, 0)
- Cecil Afrika (51, 1246)
- Rosko Specman (19, 248)
- Ruhan Nel (19, 172)
- Sandile Ngcobo (4, 20)*
- There have been 164 Springboks Sevens players since the inception of the World Series in 1999 (excluding Sevens World Cups). Ryan Oosthuizen is the latest after he took the field in Hong Kong and Dewald Human, who is on debut, could become Blitzbok no 165.
- Top Scorers (all time):
- Cecil Afrika 1246 (51 tournaments)
- Branco du Preez 1026 (53 tournaments)