Eighteen victories in 29 matches do not make for pretty reading to any faithful Springbok Sevens supporter, especially after the rich buffets of wins served up by the team in the previous two HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
The fact that the Blitzboks suffered back-to-back defeats in four of the five tournaments played in the series so far, rubs even more salt into the wounds for the South Africans, and the 10 defeats this season are challenging the team’s resolve like never before.
It hurts the team as well, said Blitzbok back Stedman Gans, and they are working very hard to fix the wrongs.
“We realise that things are not going as smoothly as it should and there is a real desire in the squad to solve that,” he said as the squad prepared for the HSBC Canada Sevens, to be played at BC Place in Vancouver this weekend.
“There are two things we can always fall back on, I believe and that is our effort and our processes. We have faith in both. The guys will always go out and give their best effort out there for the jersey and for each other, of that there is no doubt. Our processes have been successful in the past and it will bring success in the future. We just need to implement it better.”
The Blitzboks finished joint-seventh in Las Vegas last week, the worst since Gans joined the team 63 matches and 18 tries ago, but for the two time World Series winner there is a real belief that the upward curve in performances has started.
Gans lamented the lack of execution: “Against the USA for example, we lost possession eight times. You cannot afford that and it was reflected in the results, but we are getting better all the time. We are not the same team as last year at the same time. We lack some experience and mistakes will be made, but we need time to grow and if we are afforded that, the results will be very good.
“All of us are keen to fulfil his role on the field. We are building something special here and we all want to be part of it. The effort is there, the implementation is getting there, but unfortunately, these things take time.”
● Both replacement players, Zain Davids and Kurt-Lee Arendse, have since joined the team and will train with the squad on Thursday.
The Blitzboks’ pool fixtures are (SA times):
Saturday, 9 March
Sunday 10 March