The South African Sevens rugby team hope to take the momentum from their recent Vancouver title win into this weekend’s Hong Kong event.
The Blitzboks beat France in the cup final in Canada in March to bag their first title of this season’s World Rugby Sevens Series. But glory in the prestigious Hong Kong tournament still eludes the defending series champions.
Despite playing in four Hong Kong finals, the Blitzboks have never lifted the sought-after cup.
The South Africans grabbed maximum points in Vancouver, but are under no illusion that Hong Kong will pose different challenges.
Blitzboks coach, Neil Powell, says that the team could do better in defence and attack.
“If we can make another step up from our Vancouver performance, then we’ll be happy. I know results-wise, we got good results, but there are still a lot of things that we could do better in defence and attack. That was the main focus coming into this week, just to get better as team, but also for the individuals to go through the process of finding each other on the field.”
The Blitzboks go into the tournament with three team changes; Chris Dry is in for the injured Zain Davids, Angelo Davids is set to make his debut and the experienced Werner Kok moves to the forwards.
That moment when you are given your very first match jersey and the rest of the #Blitzboks confirm they have your back. That is a great feeling. Congrats #AngeloDavids Enjoy that special moment! @CastleFreeSA @ASICS_ZA @FNBSA #BestOfUs pic.twitter.com/puVlKW3NOE
— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) April 4, 2019
Powell says that continuity and consistency is important to the team.
“Continuity and consistency is important for us and the fact that we made those changes just meant that we, as the coaching staff, must do a lot more off the field to try and get the guys on the same page. For Werries to understand his new role and responsibilities and a guy like Angelo who is making his debut, to understand exactly what is expected of him. So we’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes, video work, individual meetings with those two players, and also as a team to make sure everyone is on the same page.”
Stedman Gans was one of the starts in Vancouver. He hopes to continue building on that performance.
“I think I’m on track and I’m going in the direction I want to be. Obviously everybody here wants to start in this team and wants to be a part of this great system. So I think if I can just keep on working hard and implement the roles and responsibilities the coach has for me, I can stay part of this system.
The Blitzboks kick off their Hong Kong campaign against Japan in Pool A on Friday. They will tackle Scotland and Samoa on Saturday.