The Blitzboks will be banking on experience at the opening tournament of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai this weekend.
The Blitzboks are top seeds in Pool B with Uganda, Scotland and the USA. Coach Neil Powell says his team is keen to get going and will be looking for a solid start to the 2016-17 campaign after falling short in their quest for the title last season.
'This tournament has been good to South Africa in the past and we have won here before. The support we normally get from the huge group of South African fans is no doubt worth an extra player,' said Powell.
'Last year we started introducing some established fifteens guys into our structure as we looked at finding the right combinations for the Olympic Games. This time around, we arrived with a squad full of sevens regulars.
'In fact, four of the five most experienced players ever in the Blitzbok shirt are here in Dubai, so a lack of experience will definitely not be an issue. All that experience and talent will count for nothing, though, if we do not bring our best effort to the field.'
Powell conceded that any opening match of a new season is tough and the fact that his charges are facing Uganda first up is no different. Powell also says the Blitzboks are wary of Scotland, given their dramatic encounter at the London Sevens last season.
'I don't have to point to the Scotland match [at 11:00] at all, we all know what happened in our previous clash and us losing the London Sevens after the final buzzer,' said Powell.
'Everyone in the squad are looking forward to getting the season started. We worked hard in pre-season and the squad made me proud with their willingness to dig deep and work hard.'
Blitzboks' fixtures (SA times):
South Africa vs Uganda (08:06)
South Africa vs Scotland (11:06)
South Africa v USA (15:06)
Blitzboks squad for Dubai Sevens – Chris Dry, Philip Snyman, Dylan Sage, Kwagga Smith, Werner Kok, Kyle Brown, Branco du Preez, Rosco Speckman, Justin Geduld, Cecil Afrika, Ruhan Nel, Seabelo Senatla, *Siviwe Soyizwapi.
Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images