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South Africans to watch in Rio: Blitzboks

2016-07-27 13:04
Cheslin Kolbe

Cape Town - When the decision was taken to include Sevens as an Olympic sport back in 2009, the boys and girls at SASCOC would have been licking their lips. 

The event makes its Olympic debut in 2016 and the Blitzboks are very much in the mix when it comes to medal contention. 

They have been consistent on the World Series circuit this season and finished in the top three in 7 of the 10 tournaments played. 

That is a good sign that Team South Africa can count on coach Neil Powell and his 12 players to deliver the goods. 

SOUTH AFRICANS TO WATCH IN RIO:

Cameron van der Burgh

Caster Semenya

Anaso Jobodwana

Chad le Clos

Wayde van Niekerk

The obvious threats are the Kiwis and Fijians ... probably more so the Fijians. 

But the nature of Sevens is such that, on any given day, anybody can beat anybody. 

This was illustrated at this year's London Sevens when, against all the odds, Scotland manufactured the most dramatic of comebacks to beat the Blitzboks 27-26 to win the tournament final.  

The Blitzboks are grouped alongside Australia, France and Spain. There are three groups of four at the competition, making 12 teams in total, with the two best third-placed teams joining the top two from each group to make the quarter-finals. 

That means that South Africa should have no problem progressing to the knockouts. 

The trick, though, will be beating Australia to ensure top spot in the group and an easier quarter-final and ultimately an easier path to the medals. 

If it all goes according to plan, then South Africa will have reason to celebrate on August 11. 

The tournament gets underway on August 9 and will run over three days. 

The good news is that the time difference doesn't make this viewing impossible. 

On August 9, SA take on Spain at 16:30 and then France at 21:30.

Powell has included Stormers stars Juan de Jongh and Cheslin Kolbe in his squad after they played in the first four tournaments of the season.

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