'We want to be as successful in the tournament as possible' - Blitzboks eye more success in Spain

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The Blitzboks. (Photo by Christopher Pike/Getty Images)
The Blitzboks. (Photo by Christopher Pike/Getty Images)

Riding a wave of success, Blitzboks coach Neil Powell says it's important that the team be on the same page going into the Malaga leg of the Spain Sevens, beginning on Friday.

Powell's men are yet to put a foot wrong on the Sevens circuit having gone back-to-back in Dubai in December, and will now turn their attention to the first tournament of this Sevens World Cup year.

The Blitzboks have been put through their paces at their Stellenbosch base for the past two weeks ahead of the tournament.

"We always do the hard yards at home and then just tweak whatever is needed after arriving at tournaments," said Powell.

"Nothing has changed in that regard, and we have used our time here in Malaga to make sure the legs are stretched, and everyone is on the same page."

As such, the successful Sevens team will look to pick up where they left off in 2021.

"Our aim remains the same - to be as successful in this tournament as possible. We always reset to zero, but I will start with almost the same team as the one in Dubai," he said.

With an emphatic end to last year, Powell has also been boosted by the return of key players to his team, while drumming up confidence in three new faces who did not participate in Dubai.

"Having said that, the big difference between the Dubai team and this one is the fact that both Justin Geduld and Dewald Human are here as flyhalves and did not play in Dubai, where Selvyn Davids did an admirable job as stand-in flyhalf. Justin will play some matches at centre, including the opening match against Scotland. 

"I am pleased both are back in the squad, but also keen to see the three other players who were not in Dubai. Sako Makata, Mfundo Ndhlovu and Darren Adonis are all really good players, so I am happy to have them fit and keen to see them perform."

The Blitzboks, in Pool A, begin their Spain assault with a game against Scotland on Friday (14:12) before taking on England on Saturday (14:14). Fiji, in the same group, were forced to withdraw owing to being visited upon by Covid-19.

Springbok Sevens squad:
1. Sako Makata – 11 tournaments, 46 matches, 35 points (7 tries)

2. Ryan Oosthuizen – 25 tournaments, 123 matches, 125 points (25 tries)

3. Impi Visser – 15 tournaments, 76 matches, 80 points (16 tries)

4. Zain Davids – 26 tournaments, 132 matches, 115 points (23 tries)

5. Christie Grobbelaar – 5 tournaments, 24 matches, 40 points (8 tries)

6. JC Pretorius – 14 tournaments, 77 matches, 170 points (34 tries)

7. Branco du Preez – 77 tournaments, 392 matches, 1378 points (98 tries, 441 conversions, 1 penalty goal, 1 drop goal)

8. Selvyn Davids – 23 tournaments, 120 matches, 468 points (53 tries, 100 conversions, 1 penalty goal)

9. Justin Geduld – 50 tournaments, 260 matches, 1034 points (111 tries, 238 conversions, 1 penalty goal)

10. Dewald Human – 11 tournaments, 51 matches, 167 points (13 tries, 51 conversions)

11. Siviwe Soyizwapi (captain) – 34 tournaments, 181 matches, 580 points (116 tries)

12. Mfundo Ndhlovu – 5 tournaments, 23 matches, 25 points (5 tries)

13. Darren Adonis – 2 tournaments, 12 matches, 32 points (6 tries, 1 conversion

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