SA Sevens coach hopes hard work will pay off in Dubai this week

2013-11-27 00:00

CAPE TOWN — South African Sevens coach Neil Powell has a massive job on his hands since Vuyo Zangqa left the team.

However, Powell hopes that the long hours and hard work he and his management team have put in with the team will pay dividends in Dubai this week.

Powell coaches the team without an assistant coach, but has the luxury of an experienced management team to count on if necessary.

The Blitsbokke play their first match of the Dubai tournament against Argentina on Friday morning and will be eager to make a big impact right from the start.

Last year, under former coach Paul Treu, the South Africans made a bit of a mess of things at the same tournament.

Treu’s team were beaten during the group phase by Portugal and Samoa.

Powell’s team want to advance further, but will first have to beat teams such as Argentina, Russia and Samoa before they can think about the quarter-finals.

One aspect of the game that the Blitsbokke will have to improve is retaining or winning ball control from the kick-off.

Kyle Brown, the Sevens captain, is a specialist at this level, but there has been a vacuum in the team in this regard since he was injured during the Gold Coast tournament.

Although Brown will be playing in Dubai, Powell earlier impressed the importance of the pecking order on his players when it comes to the kick-off.

“Kyle puts a lot of pressure on our opponents during kick-offs and the next person will have to do it 80% as well as he does, should he not be there,” said Powell.

“If Kyle is not there, then it becomes Chris Dry’s task. If Chris is also not on the field, it must be done by Dippies [Stephan Dippenaar] or Philip Snyman,” he said.

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