Blitzbokke set sights on HK
Johannesburg - The Springbok Sevens team is anxious to do well in Hong Kong where the sixth stage of the HSBC Sevens World Series will be held from March 23-25.
South Africa has never won this prestigious event and coach, Paul Treu, was demanding a committed effort from his team at this popular three-day tournament in the Far East.
Hong Kong was traditionally regarded as the most important tournament of the season and this year it would be followed by the Tokyo Sevens.
Treu opted against the inclusion of squad newcomer Dirk Dippenaar when he named his 12-man squad on Wednesday.
The rookie was now set to make his debut next week in Japan.
Renfred Dazel was the other non-playing squad member.
South Africa's preparations for the tournament have been stifled by injuries to key players Kyle Brown, Paul Delport, Boom Prinsloo and Chris Dry, however, all were eventually cleared to play.
Furthermore, the Blitzbokke travelled without the in-form Steven Hunt, who stayed behind in Cape Town to attend a family funeral.
"Our focus for these two tournaments will be on consistency, to take our opportunities and to stop the cheap tries," Treu said.
"We are second to New Zealand when it comes to defensive statistics and we intend to keep stretching ourselves in this department.
"For us the Hong Kong tournament is always going to be special and over the past few days we've been talking about the fact that winning it is the one thing we'd like to achieve."
Treu said he believed that the format of the tournament was tough on all the teams, and from the first game, the pressure would be immense.
"Our opener against Wales will be a huge game for us. We managed a number of injuries and, as a result, our preparations for this trip were maybe less than ideal," he said.
"New Zealand and Fiji are setting the pace and the trend at the moment and they should be main contenders in Hong Kong."
The Blitzbokke were currently third in the World Series with 76 points.
They open their campaign with a Pool B match against Wales on Friday, followed by the remaining pool matches on Saturday against the USA and New Zealand.
Springbok Sevens squad:
Chris Dry, Boom Prinsloo, Frankie Horne, Pieter Engelbrecht, Kyle Brown (captain), Branco du Preez, Bernado Botha, Cornal Hendricks, Paul Delport, Cecil Afrika, William Small-Smith, Stephan Dippenaar