Blitzbok captain Stedman Gans says the team wants to play to their potential in Sydney after their dismal display at the Hamilton Sevens this past weekend.
Gans will lead the Springbok Sevens team for the second time in the Sydney Sevens this weekend, where they will line up against France, Argentina and Samoa in Pool B at Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta on Saturday.
With the 10th-place finish in New Zealand behind them and valuable lessons learned from the rare underachievement in the third leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series, the Blitzboks – who are in second place on the overall log with France – will enter their pool as third seeds.
The format of the tournament will again see only the pool winners advancing to the Cup semi-final, so the pressure on the side will be intense.
Gans places the blame for the Hamilton disappointment squarely on the team rather than the competition format, and says the experience within the squad was sufficient not to allow the competition structure to impact on their performances.
‘Our squad had close to 400 tournaments worth of experience and that must be enough to adapt to a change in format,’ Gans said.
‘We just did not perform the way we were expected to and we deserved those results. We were just not good enough, to be honest. Our standards dropped and that was disappointing for us as a group.
‘But the exciting part of this week is that we have another chance at it, and we cannot let this opportunity slip.’
The Blitzboks had a close encounter with Argentina the last time the sides met (winning 12-5 in Dubai in December), and Gans knows the opening match will be very competitive.
‘Our focus at every tournament goes into that first game and what we need to do to establish our style of play over theirs,’ he said. ‘The other teams are getting better every year, but we would also like to believe that we are improving as a squad.’
The Blitzbok squad is unchanged from the one that did duty in Hamilton.
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