Cape Town - The real challenge of the World Rugby Sevens Series is
the absolute diversity of each of the 10 tournaments - not one tournament is
ever the same and every stop provides different demands from opponents to
This week in Singapore, where the Blitzboks last tasted
success in 2004, teams will physically be tested by high humidity and it being
at the end of a taxing trip that started at the end of last month for the
The South Africans will also face some emotional challenges,
after under-performing in Hong Kong last week. There is also the mental
challenge of getting up again after the traditional hype of the Hong Kong Sevens.
For Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell this week was all
about getting the balance right in order to make sure his squad hit the Singapore Sevens with the right frame of mind and body.
“It is a tough one, getting that balance right,” said Powell.
“We have seen in the past, teams are up and down come
Singapore and there are reasons for that. We stepped off the gas a bit in
training this week, due to the heat, and also had the guys chat more on what we
want to achieve out there this weekend.”
The proof will be in the pudding come Sunday, but Powell was
pleased with the way the squad responded to the change in environment and
“They had to take a bit more ownership off the field this
time,” said Powell.
“It was pleasing to see that they got stuck in when told to
do more analysing than usual and to present plans on attack, breakdowns and
defence. This time they were doing the presentation, not sitting there and just
listening to one.”
Powell, World Rugby's Sevens Coach of 2018, did not sit back
though. He discussed some breakdown aches with the officials, in order to make
sure that the Blitzboks are not the most penalized in the tournament again,
like they were in Hong Kong.
"Yes, I had a chat to see where we can make their jobs
easier and it was productive to hear things from their perspective on where we
went wrong. Amongst ourselves, we also had to chat about the attacking
opportunities we created, but failed to convert into points,” said Powell, who
is still of the opinion that the team can repeat their efforts from Vancouver,
where they won the Canada Sevens.
“There is a huge amount of potential in this squad. If we
can eliminate those things that are holding us back, there is no reason why we
cannot have a productive tournament. We are looking at a solid day one that
will provide the momentum for the second day."
Branco du Preez will equal Kyle Brown’s record as the
most-capped Blitzbok in the World Series when he runs out in his 69th
tournament in Singapore, a mark Brown achieved in Sydney earlier this year.
Du Preez is keen to embrace the opportunity: “It is such an
honour playing for this team and with these guys, I am certainly proud to be
around this long.
“The weekend will be about using our opportunities and I
hope I can contribute my part with that,” said Du Preez, who debuted in 2010 in
Wellington and has played in 344 matches for his country since.
1. Ryan Oosthuizen (14 tournaments, 66 matches, 70 points,
2. Sako Makata (3 tournaments, 12 matches, 0 points)
3. Impi Visser (7 tournaments, 39 matches, 35 points, seven
4. Chris Dry (67 tournaments; 336 matches, 465 points, 93
5. Werner Kok (44 tournaments, 223 matches, 500 points, 100
6. Kurt-Lee Arendse (2 tournaments, 6 matches, 5 points)
7. Branco du Preez (68 tournaments, 344 matches, 1238
points; 90 tries, 391 conversions, 1 penalty, 1 drop goal)
8. Selvyn Davids (12 tournaments, 58 matches, 250 points, 28
tries, 55 conversions)
9. Justin Geduld (43 tournaments; 222 matches, 916 points -
97 tries, 214 conversions, 1 penalty)
10. Stedman Gans (16 tournaments, 74 matches, 110 points, 22
11. Siviwe Soyizwapi (captain; 25 tournaments, 129 matches,
395 points, 79 tries)
12. Angelo Davids (1 tournament, 5 matches, 0 points)
13. James Murphy (3 tournaments, 12 matches, 0 points) –
A: Fiji, South Africa, Scotland, Canada
B: France, Argentina, Australia, Hong Kong
C: USA, England, Kenya, Wales
D: Samoa, New Zealand, Japan, Spain
South Africa’s schedule for Saturday, April 13: (SA
13:28 v Fiji