Sevens

NZ desperate to stop Blitzbokke

2014-02-06 07:41
Kyle Brown (Gallo Images)

Wellington - The imposing South Africans with their rock-solid defence are being targeted as the team to beat when the New Zealand round of the IRB Sevens World Series gets underway in Wellington on Friday.

South Africa, coming off back-to-back titles in Las Vegas and Port Elizabeth, lead the series by one point over perennial tournament pacemakers New Zealand, going into the fifth of nine rounds.

While New Zealand have traditionally reigned with a mix of guile and speed, South Africa have brought a new element to rugby's short-form game this year, which will make its debut at the Olympics in 2016.

"The physicality that the South Africans bring, they're not top of the series for no reason. They pride themselves on defence, they're very, very good in that area," said Simon Amor, coach of the Wellington defending champions England.

When they won in Las Vegas two weeks ago, South Africa conceded only 14 points in the whole tournament.

They came in two games when beating Kenya 19-7 in pool play and downing New Zealand 14-7 in the final.

The Blitzbokke have now defeated the Kiwis in their last five Cup finals played.

"This tournament will be won by defence and we will keep working hard on that and pushing that culture to make sure we stay solid enough to hopefully win another title," said South African captain Kyle Brown.

New Zealand, desperate to reassert themselves after losing the Las Vegas and Port Elizabeth's finals to South Africa, will unveil another young find to a side that has won the world series 10 times.

Coach Gordon Tietjens described 18-year-old Akira Ioane as an exciting talent.

"And when the opposition don't know a lot about a certain player it's probable a good opportunity will come his way," said Tietjens.

Ioane has "a huge amount of potential, very quick, very big and ... he's a very, very good footballer as well".

The Blitzbokke have been drawn in Pool A with England, Wales and Portugal, while New Zealand are in Pool B with Fiji, France and Spain.

Scotland, Argentina, the United States and Canada make up Pool C with Samoa, Australia, Kenya and Tonga in Pool D.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
10 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • SS3
    Mon, 28 Jul 2014 @
    04:00
  • SS4:
    Mon, 28 Jul 2014 @
    05:00
  • SS7:
    Mon, 28 Jul 2014 @
    06:00
  • SS5:
    Mon, 28 Jul 2014 @
    06:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Vote

Who is your favourite South African rugby commentator - English or Afrikaans?

 
 
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.