Thursday, 13 April 2017
The Springbok Sevens team realize the importance of a strong start in the HSBC Singapore Sevens in the Singapore National Stadium this weekend. Coach Neil Powell is keen for his side to build up winning momentum again with only two tournaments in the World Series to go following Singapore.
The Springbok Sevens team won five of six matches in Hong Kong last weekend but lost 22-0 to Fiji in the Cup final. The defeat was only the fourth in 42 matches as South Africa made a number of basic errors in the match.
The result did not impact on the South Africans’ lead in the overall standings of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, with the team still maintaining a 23 point lead over second-placed Fiji.
HSBC Singapore7s PoolB: South Africa, England, France, Japan
Powell points to the importance of starting well against Japan, their first opponent in Pool B in Singapore.
“We need to start well and build momentum from there, so in a way, the Japan match is the most important one of the tournament, as it will set the tone,” said Powell.
“They are a dangerous side when given space, so our defense will have to be spot-on. If we are going to allow them to run around, we will have a lot of defending to do.”
The Blitzbokke then face France, another dangerous opponent according to Powell: “They played well against us last weekend in Hong Kong, where we won 17-10 and I think they will get a lot of confidence from that match. You never know which French team is going to pitch and that makes them a very tough opponent.”
The final pool match against England could also prove the toughest one mentally and physically. Three of the Blitzbokke’s four defeats this season (and a draw) came at the hands of England, with the defeat in the Vancouver final last month the most recent.
“Yes, they are difficult to beat,” said Powell.
“They are well coached and have the most experienced side in Singapore. They are very physical, but I think we lost against ourselves in the defeat in Vancouver.
“We played poorly in that final, so the challenge will be to trust our structures and systems. If we do that and cut out the basic errors we tend to make against them, we will be competitive,” Powell added.