Blitzboks coach Neil Powell says he’ll use the Sydney Sevens tournament to measure the progress his team has made since the Cape Town event last December.
According to Powell, the team has prepared sufficiently at their training base in Stellenbosch and this week in Sydney has just been about fine-tuning that preparation.
‘We looked back at what went wrong in Cape Town and it seemed to be a mental thing,’ explained Powell. ‘We had some technical mishaps, but I think the long 2017 season got to the players.
‘That said, the rest did wonders to all of them and I could feel the intensity and vibe in the air in the last week or so. We see this tournament as a bit of a trial run for the Commonwealth Games as well, so we want to go out there and measure ourselves against the best in the world.’
The Springbok Sevens team kick off their campaign in Sydney against Papua New Guinea on Friday, followed by matches against Spain and England on Saturday. The knockout games are scheduled for Sunday.
‘The three-day tournaments are a bit different from the normal ones on the circuit and this Sydney tournament does have a bit of a Hong Kong Sevens feel to it due to the fact that it is played over three days,’ said Powell.
‘We arrived a bit earlier than normal because of that. It is not the easiest thing to travel to Australia and New Zealand from South Africa as it does take a day or two to get back into the flow of things.
‘We needed to make sure the players had enough sleep and lifted the intensity of training as the week progressed. We will have a captain’s run on Friday morning, although we play later in the day, as it works best for our routine.
‘We only play after 6pm [09:22 SA time] and it is a long day for the guys to just wait around, so the session on Friday will break up the day a bit and get the guys focused on the job at hand.’
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