PE Sevens — Blitsbokke cautiously optimistic

2014-12-10 00:00

DESPITE a dazzling display at the Dubai Sevens, the Blitsbokke have their feet firmly on the ground as they prepare to win back to back series titles this weekend at the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens.

The South African Sevens side’s near perfect display in Dubai has set a high standard going into the third round of the HSBC Sevens series. The pressure is now on the Blitsbokke to deliver the goods in front of their home crowd.

Despite the added pressure, some senior statesmen in the side were reserved about the upcoming challenge and preferred to remain cautiously optimistic ahead of their stop at home.

“Especially after the performance this weekend, to get back home and make sure we make this weekend count is going to be very important for us,” said Blitsbokke captain Kyle Brown.

“It’s something we have considered over many of the tournaments that we’ve played here in South Africa. We don’t want to apply to much pressure to the guys, just that they go out and enjoy their time themselves in the one opportunity to play at home on the circuit,” he said.

The chaotic nature of Sevens makes it difficult to put a “favourites” tag on any team, but South Africa’s clean sweep of wins in Dubai puts them firmly in the driver’s seat this weekend.

Notching up a 28-0 semi-final win over New Zealand and then beating Australia 33-7 to win the Dubai title was no mean feat, considering that Brown is expecting opposition teams to up their game this week.

“These days, everybody does video analysis and of course we have a couple of chinks in our armour. They’ll be doing their analysis on us and we’ll be doing it as well to make sure we sharpen up this week,” he said.

When the Blitsbokke kick off against the United States on Saturday, the triumph of the previous week will have simmered down and it’s back to business once again.

“I don’t want to say that we have to start from scratch but Sevens is one of those games where you won’t be able to use that momentum from Dubai. Last week was a tournament on its own and this week in PE is also tournament on its own, and we’re going to have to start from the beginning to the very end,” Brown said.

An equally experienced campaigner, Cecil Afrika, also played down the hype and said his teammates will be focusing on building an innings in Port Elizabeth.

“It’s obviously nice to be back at home but, as a team, we are not going to put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We are just going to go out there and do what we do best,” he said. “To come out this weekend and win our home tournament is the plan. But as a team, we don’t focus on the outcome, we focus on the processes. If they are right, the result will look after itself,” the veteran Blitsbok said.

The Blitsbokke start their PE Sevens campaign against the U.S. on Saturday. Kick-off is at 12.42 pm.

Blitsbokke PE Sevens Pool A fixtures

Saturday 13 December

SA vs U.S. — 12.42 pm

SA vs Kenya — 3.58 pm

SA vs Wales — 7.58 pm

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