The Springbok Sevens team are determined to finish the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2015/16 on a high note, not only to try and clinch the series title, but also to secure a good draw for the Olympic Games in Rio later this year.
The Blitzboks kick off the HSBC London Sevens at Twickenham on Saturday in second place on the series log, 14 points adrift of Fiji and seven points clear of third-placed New Zealand.
South Africa can still win the overall series, should they be victorious in London and the Fijians falter in the pool stages, but that is not something Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, is banking on.
“The margin probably is too big, but we will not lose hope or our desire to fight it out till the very last play of the season,” said Powell.
“Stranger things have happened in sport. We are not expecting Fiji to slip up, so can only control what we are in control of. And that is our own performance and our own desire to be the best players and team we can be.
“The London Sevens has not been the happiest hunting ground for us recently, but is remains a great tournament. It is well run and the crowds are appreciative of good sevens. We have Samoa, Canada and the USA in our pool, all tough opponents.
“The Samoans will be full of confidence following their win in France last weekend and the Canadians are gearing up for the Olympic qualifier in Monaco in a couple of weeks’ time.”
Powell feels another win is not out of the question: “We are playing well though, so we approach this tournament with some confidence.
“We trained well and Chris Dry and Siviwe Soyizwapi, who replaced the injured Ruhan Nel and Kwagga Smith from last weekend, slotted in nicely. We cannot guarantee the Cup, but we promise to leave nothing out there,” said Powell.
The Springbok Sevens’ Pool A fixtures are (SA times):
Saturday 21 May 2016
11h36: South Africa vs Canada
14h46: South Africa vs USA
17h48: South Africa vs Samoa
World Series Standings after nine tournaments (top five teams):
- Fiji 166
- South Africa 152
- New Zealand 145
- Australia 127
- Argentina 107
The Springbok Sevens team is (with number of tournaments) is:
- Chris Dry (51)
- Philip Snyman (36, captain)
- Tim Agaba (6)
- Ryan Kankowski (7)
- Francois Hougaard (5)
- Kyle Brown (55)
- Dylan Sage (6)
- Stephan Dippenaar (28)
- Rosko Specman (12)
- Cecil Afrika (44)
- Seabelo Senatla (28)
- Siviwe Soyizwapi (2)