• Blitzboks focus on discipline

    Neil Powell says the Blitzboks will need to improve their discipline if they're to maintain their lead at the top of the Sevens World Series.

    The Blitzboks opened up an eight-point lead at the top of the standings courtesy of their back-to-back wins at the Dubai and Port Elizabeth tournaments.

    However, with 22 points awarded for the winner of each tournament, Powell is all too aware that things are far from over in the nine-tournament series.

    And while the Blitzboks were deserving of their triumph at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, their campaign was almost undone by poor discipline.

    With Cecil Afrika receiving yellow in the final two matches of the tournament, the Blitzboks made their job harder than it might've been had they kept all seven players on the field.

    Last week the squad worked with Springbok breakdown consultant Richie Gray, while they called in former Test referee Freek Burger on Tuesday to assist with the interpretation of technical rules.

    'We are looking to maintain our momentum and to keep on improving as a squad. Although we are pleased with the tournament wins in Dubai and PE, there is always room for improvement,' said Powell.

    'We conceded far too many penalties in PE, with quite a few in one match at times. So we have worked hard on keeping our focus and being disciplined in the last few weeks.'

    Powell will have to make do without the services of Cheslin Kolbe in New Zealand and the United States as a result of Vodacom Super Rugby commitments, but with a squad of 22 players to choose from, he isn't short on possible replacements.

    'We are really blessed to have 22 quality players available for selection.

    'The group who played in Dubai and Port Elizabeth performed very well, while those who missed out on selection really showed amazing commitment and desire to get back into the squad.'

    Powell added that he was pleased with the commitment showed at training since the squad assembled in Stellenbosch on 5 January.

    The Wellington Sevens takes place on 6 and 7 February in the New Zealand capital and will be followed by the Las Vegas Sevens a week later, where the South Africans are the defending champions.

    The 12-man squad will leave for New Zealand next Friday, where they will face France, Japan and the USA in the pool stages.