Cape Town - The South African Sevens team contesting the Oktoberfest 7s in Munich, Germany this weekend is keen to start the season on a positive note and set the tone for the remainder of the world calendar.
The SA squad's coach at the tournament, Paul Delport, said they have settled in well since arrival in Germany on Monday and are eager to express themselves and compete against some of the best teams in the world.
“It is early for us, as we have not played for a while and our squad has not had booted up in any tournaments leading up to the Oktoberfest 7s,” said Delport, a former Blitzboks captain.
“We had some solid build-up work in Stellenbosch though, travelled well and are well looked after here. We now need to go and do the work on the field.
“"Things are going well and the guys are all on the same page. All the players are comfortable and confident with their role in that system and what they need to do to make the system work.”
Included in the South African team are seven players that represented the Springbok Sevens team in the 2016/17 World Rugby Sevens Series, while the remaining five formed part of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy team that played and won the Howard Hinton Sevens in Tours, France in June, their last competitive outing.
They will face a number of familiar foes in Pool A in the Munich's Olympic Stadium, with France, Spain and Portugal all naming teams with plenty of World Series experience.
“We have a tough pool in playing those European teams, but the guys are all looking forward to playing them,” said Delport.
“We have done our analysis and we know how we want to play against each of them. The guys are really keen to get out there on the pitch and do what they do best. The weather is great, the sun is out and the guys are enjoying the beauty of Munich. Now we just want to go and play.”
World Series regulars, Dylan Sage and Siviwe Soyizwapi, highlight the SA team's experience, with Sage providing the leadership as captain on this trip. Soyizwapi will be looking to provide the main thrust on attack. He scored 29 tries in last year's World Series, second only behind Seabelo Senatla (34).
Delport is keen to see some of the newer recruits in the team express themselves and push for a place in the Blitzboks squad that will play in the World Series, Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens in the calendar year.
“We have some talented individuals that have a great chance to make a name for themselves. I am pretty keen to see them in action,” Delport admitted.
On Friday, South Africa will play Portugal at 15h01, Spain at 17h53 and France at 20h45.
Pool A: South Africa, France, Spain, Portugal
Pool B: England, Argentina, Germany, Uganda
Pool C: Fiji, Australia, Chile, Ireland
The South African squad (with number of World Series tournaments):
Marco Labuschagne (1), Sako Makata (0), Selvyn Davids (1), Siviwe Soyizwapi (12), Ryan Oosthuizen (4), Zain Davids (6), Dewald Human (2), Dylan Sage (captain, 17), Tythan Adams (0), Mosolwa Mafuma (0), Impi Visser (0), Mfundo Ndhlovo (0).
Management: Paul Delport (coach), Ashley Evert (manager), Hugh Everson (physiotherapist).