With the HSBC Sevens World Series overall title already captured by New Zealand, much of the focus will now shift towards the race for second place between South Africa, England, Samoa and Fiji at the Edinburgh Sevens over the weekend at Murrayfield.
A resurgent South Africa won their second tournament of the season in London last week and will be aiming to secure second spot behind New Zealand.
The BlitzBokke are currently five points behind second-placed England, who have 121 Series points. South Africa has a slender lead of just four points over a new look and very powerful Fiji.
Mac-Cecil and Mac-Juries at the Edinburgh 7s
“The Series might already be decided but I think this will be one of the toughest tournaments of the season. New Zealand and England will definitely bounce back; Australia is in good form while Fiji would want to continue with their momentum of late.
And we cannot discount teams such as France, Kenya and USA and also Scotland, who beat us last year and will be playing with a passionate crowd behind them,” explained coach Paul Treu.
Treu added his team will have to adjust their game plane somewhat for this weekend.
“We worked on a specific game plan against Fiji and there were elements of that approach in our other matches, but Sevens is such a dynamic sport that you must adjust very quickly and constantly and you just cannot afford to be predictable.
“I am very pleased with our mental approach and the hard work done at our training camp at Stellenbosch means the guys are all in good physical shape. The prospect of a third trophy this season is a huge motivating factor for us but it is important that we don’t get ahead of ourselves.
“We want to end as high as possible on the log and to do that we must win our pool. Australia, Canada and Kenya on the first day is a very daunting task and we will have to be at our best from the start,” cautioned the Springbok Sevens coach.
Kyle Brown has led his team superbly this season and Treu would look for one more great effort from his skipper this week. Cecil Afrika is set to end the season as the leading point scorer and his combination with Branco du Preez and Bernado Botha will again hold the key to the Springbok Sevens try scoring opportunities.
SuperSport will show all action live from Murrayfield on both days, starting from 11h45 (SA time) on Saturday.
The Springbok Sevens squad is:
Chris Dry, Kyle Brown (c), Frankie Horne, Neil Powell, Boom Prinsloo, Branco du Preez, Paul Delport, Cecil Afrika, Sibusiso Sithole, Steven Hunt, Bernado Botha and William Small-Smith.
The South African pool matches on Saturday (time SA):
12h58: SA vs. Canada
16h04: SA vs. Kenya
19h27: SA vs. Australia
The current HSBC Sevens World Series standing is:
1. New Zealand 150 points (champions)
2. England 121
3. South Africa 116
4. Samoa 112
5. Fiji 110
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