Cape Town - Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, knows that the
Blitzboks will have to endure another huge physical test when the Vancouver Sevens kicks off at BC Place on
Saturday, but expects the mental challenge to his side to be even greater.
With the Blitzboks victorious in 28 of their 30 matches
played in the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series so far, the target on
their backs are getting bigger and England, who handed South Africa their only
two defeats, will loom large in Pool A in Canada.
The Vancouver event is also the second in as many weeks,
with bumps and bruises a natural consequence after some bruising matches in Las
And the Blitzboks will have to make do without their two
leading points’ scorers this season, with Seabelo Senatla (160 points) and
Justin Geduld (119 points) not in Vancouver.
To Powell though, the biggest threat is his side's mental
“Unfortunately there is a lot of talk that we have the
series sewn up, which cannot be further from the truth,” said Powell.
“One bad tournament, where you don't make the semi-finals,
could derail our momentum significantly. The last thing I want to players to
think of is a fifth tournament win or our lead in the series and then getting
ahead of themselves. We dare not to look past Chile in that first pool game.”
Chile has interestingly won the only encounter played
between the two sides, by 28-21 in a pool match at Punta del Este in Uruguay in
“I don't have to spell out how dangerous Kenya and England can
be, so if we are not on top of our game, we could not even make the quarters,”
The South Africans have won 40 of their 46 matches against
Kenya (average score 26-9) and 36 of 68 against England (average score 16-15).
“We did a solid review of our performance in Las Vegas and
realised how many things we can still do better,” said Powell.
“We did some good things, but not enough to excuse us from
working hard again this week to fine tune our game. I was pleased with the way
we executed our ruck attack and how we kept the ball when we had possession.”
At the halfway mark of the ten-tournament series, the
Blitzboks (107) hold a 24-point lead over Fiji (83), with England (81) close
behind the Olympic gold medal winners.