Blitzboks prioritise mental strength

Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell says the key to success at this weekend's Sydney Sevens will be in his side's mental approach to the tournament.

South Africa enter the fourth instalment of the World Rugby Sevens Series with two tournament wins and lead the pack on the series log, but Powell made sure the team started afresh when they arrives in Sydney this week.

'We used the early part of the week to get the guys back to zero and back to basics following our good showing in Wellington last week,' said Powell. 'The second part of the week was used to bring back the smiles and energy. The guys need to start thinking about this tournament now and how they are going to enjoy it.

'We have set a high bar for ourselves as a team and we know we are not ticking all the boxes yet, so there will be no slacking off. We need to keep on improving if we want to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves.'

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Powell believes their opponents will generally be better prepared this weekend. The Blitzboks face Japan, Kenya and England in Pool A of the tournament, to be played at the Sydney Football Stadium.

'All teams benefit from spending time together and especially Japan and Kenya will be better this week. England will also be fresh and will benefit from the fact that they only played five matches in Wellington after being knocked out early in the tournament. So overall it will be a tougher ask than last week.'

Although they have reached all three finals so far in the 2016-17 series, the Blitzboks’ aim at this stage is to ensure they reach the Cup quarter-finals.

'Yes, we want to be consistent and if we keep our momentum from last weekend, we should be competitive. We need to get through day one first and that match against Japan will be our main focus.'

Springbok Sevens squad – (with tournament caps and career points) – 1 Chris Dry (55, 390), 2 Philip Snyman (captain, 40, 241), 3 Dylan Sage (10, 50), 4 Kwagga Smith (27, 260), 5 Werner Kok (22, 270), 6 Siviwe Soyizwapi (5, 45), 7 Branco du Preez (48, 951), 8 Rosko Specman (16, 203), 9 Justin Geduld (28, 627), 10 Zain Davids (1, 0), 11 Seabelo Senatla (32, 900), 12 Ruhan Nel (14, 140), 13 Stephan Dippenaar (29, 205)*
*Reserve player

Blitzboks schedule (SA times):

02:20: vs Japan
06:15: vs Kenya
11:13: vs England

WATCH: Top seven tries at 2017 Wellington Sevens


Pool A: South Africa, England, Kenya, Japan
Pool B: Fiji, France, Wales, Samoa
Pool C: Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea Pool D: Canada, Argentina, USA, Russia

Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt