Cape Town - While they will be trying out some new playing patterns, Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell has stressed the importance of starting the World Rugby Sevens Series on a high note.
The Blitzboks start their 2015/16 campaign in Dubai this weekend where they are grouped in Pool B alongside Scotland, Samoa and newly-promoted core team Russia.
It’s an important season for Powell and his charges, with a lot of emphasis placed on the 2016 Rio Olympics.
It prompted SARU to lure several 15-man stars to play sevens as Powell and his charges set their sights on Olympic gold.
Powell on Tuesday said he will look to experiment with new playing patterns throughout the season, but made it clear that they are still there to win every tournament they contest.
“I definitely think it’s going to be important to get that balance right between trying out new patterns, structures and also new players,” said Powell.
“But you can’t test too many things and then you find yourself in the Bowl or Shield quarter-finals. That’s definitely not where we want to play.”
Building a winning culture in the lead-up to the Olympics would be key, Powell said.
“I think one of the key components of sevens is to have confidence going into tournaments and games, so it’s definitely important for us to still be successful even though we try to test some players out to see what their capable of, or try one or two new things in structure...”
Promising players from the 15-man game who are included for the first two tournaments in Dubai and Cape Town are Francois Hougaard, Cheslin Kolbe, Rayno Benjamin, Seabelo Senatla and Juan de Jongh.
The Springbok Sevens squad for the opening World Series tournaments in Dubai and Cape Town (SARU contracted unless specified, number of World Series tournaments in brackets):
1. Chris Dry (44)
2. Philip Snyman (30)
3. Francois Hougaard (0)
4. Kwagga Smith (15)
5. Werner Kok (18)
6. Kyle Brown (48 - captain)
7. Cheslin Kolbe (Western Province, 8)
8. Rayno Benjamin (Free State Cheetahs, 29)
9. Justin Geduld (18)
10. Cecil Afrika (38)
11. Seabelo Senatla (19)
12. Juan de Jongh (Western Province, 1)