The Blitzboks will need to embrace both the on and off-field dynamics in order to emerge triumphant at this weekend’s Cape Town Sevens, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Over the course of the two-day event at the Cape Town Stadium this weekend, over 100,000 fans will pour into the ground to create a carnival atmosphere that rivals any other event on the World Rugby Sevens Series circuit.
Such support serves as a major motivation for the Blitzboks, who have reached the final on back-to-back occasions (winning the inaugural event before falling just short last year).
While the Springbok Sevens will be looking to make the most of this home-ground advantage, the fact remains that it does add a heightened air of expectation to proceedings each time they run out onto the field.
The Blitzboks will also know that as defending series champions – and winners of last weekend’s Dubai Sevens – they will come into this weekend’s home-ground tournament as favourites.
All in all, it creates a pressure-cooker environment, with the Blitzboks’ composure set to be tested over two action-packed days when fans will be desperate for them to keep the party going until the final match.
The good news for the Blitzboks is that they appeared to shake off a little rustiness early on last weekend before clicking into gear and cruising to victories over arch-rivals Fiji and New Zealand on the way to title success in Dubai.
Beneficially, the Blitzboks remained injury free at the Dubai Sevens, and will once again head into action with a vastly experienced squad that certainly appears to be a class above the rest.
However, coach Neil Powell insisted at a press conference at the Cape Town Stadium this week that the Blitzboks were still looking to fine-tune several aspects of their all-round game.
‘It’s never about the results for us, it’s all about the effort and the implementation of the processes. We believe if we do those things well then the results will come by themselves.’
Ultimately, there is no doubt that the Blitzboks deserve to be regarded as favourites this weekend, but they will need to display clear-minded temperament in order to make the most of home-ground advantage.
Blitzboks: Chris Dry, Philip Snyman, Tim Agaba, Kwagga Smith, Werner Kok, Kyle Brown, Branco du Preez, Rosko Specman, Justin Geduld, Cecil Afrika, Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Siviwe Soyizwapi (reserve).
South Africa’s schedule for Saturday: Russia (12:49), France (16:10), Kenya (19:56)
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) December 6, 2017