Blitzboks try to extend Sevens streak in Canada

2017-03-10 07:31
Rosko Specman (Gallo Images)

Montreal - With titles in four of five tournaments so far and 28 wins in 30 matches this season, South Africa's Blitzboks rank as heavy favourites for the World Rugby Sevens event starting Friday in Vancouver.

Coming off a triumph over Fiji in last week's final at Las Vegas, South Africa seek their fourth title in a row over the Canadian weekend, knowing their best might well be yet to come.

"We will never be satisfied. There's always room for improvement, even if it is just one percent," South Africa's Rosko Specman said.

"We were not at our best in Las Vegas, despite the fact that we won the tournament. We made a number of errors and our one on-one defence was not ideal, so we have a lot to work on this week.

Specman, Player of the Final at Las Vegas, credits working within the team system for his success.

"Individual performances come from a team effort and that's where our strength lies at the moment," he said. "We're playing for each other and really work hard to support each other. That structure and system allows the individuals to perform."

Sandile "Stix" Ngcobo joined the Blitzboks, the back providing depth after Justin Geduld suffered an ankle injury in Las Vegas.

Stedman Gans, a Junior Springbok last year who replaced Geduld in the lineup on the last day in Las Vegas, will remain in the role at Vancouver.

"We've had our share of injuries already this year," South Africa coach Neil Powell said. "Our depth has been tested, but on the plus side, every injury creates an opportunity for another player to show his worth."

The Blitzboks are in Pool A with England, Kenya and Chile while Fiji, Argentina, Samoa and Wales comprise Pool B. Australia, France, Japan and the United States are in Pool C with the hosts in Pool D alongside New Zealand, Scotland and Russia.

South Africa won the series opener at Dubai, beating Fiji in the final, but lost on home soil to England in the final at Cape Town. The Blitzboks responded with wins at Wellington, Sydney and Las Vegas.

The Canadian event, which saw South Africa finish runner-up to New Zealand in its debut last year, is the sixth of 10 tournaments in the global series, which goes to Hong Kong and Singapore in April and concludes in May at Paris and London.


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