Blitzboks wary of Japan banana peel

Neil Powell (Gallo Images)
Neil Powell (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell will be highlighting the importance of consistency in performance and some early rhythm for the Blitzboks at the Wellington Sevens on Saturday.

South Africa face Japan, Australia and Fiji in a very demanding Pool B at the third tournament of the World Rugby Sevens Series and Powell realises the importance of starting well when the team opens their campaign against Japan.

“Japan showed at the Olympics that they can deliver on the big day when they beat New Zealand, so we dare not underestimate them,” said Powell.

“Australia finished fourth and Fiji won the World Series last year, so it will not be an easy day out there if we are not on song from the first match.

“We need to start well against Japan to get the rhythm we need in order to go all the way. There is no use of us talking about a possible final and winning the cup if we trip up against Japan,” the coach warned.

The Blitzboks lead the overall standings after the opening two tournaments in Dubai and Cape Town and Powell realises the importance of another good showing in Wellington.

“We have started well by winning in Dubai and making the final in Cape Town, but we need to get back to that form after the break we had. For that reason, we need to start well when we play Japan,” said Powell, who played in 32 tournaments for the Blitzboks and was a member of the last South African team to win this tournament, way back in 2002.

“I was a player, Paul Treu was the captain and Chester Williams was the coach. That was a long time ago,” he smiled.

The Springbok Sevens play Japan at 01:09, Australia at 04:33 and Fiji at 08:18 (all SA times).

The Springbok Sevens team for Wellington (with caps and career points):

1. Chris Dry (54, 380)
2. Philip Snyman (captain; 39, 236)
3. Dylan Sage (9, 45)
4. Kwagga Smith (26, 255)
5. Werner Kok (21, 250)
6. Siviwe Soyizwapi (4, 30)
7. Branco du Preez (47, 922)
8. Rosko Specman (15, 196)
9. Justin Geduld (27, 594)
10. Zain Davids (on debut)
11. Seabelo Senatla (31, 860)
12. Ruhan Nel (13, 125)
13. Sandile Ngcobo (2, 10)*

* Replacement player

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