Powell predicts competitive series

Blitzboks coach Neil Powell believes there are already signs of different dynamics playing a role in this season’s World Rugby Sevens Series, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

With sevens rugby having been included in the Olympics for the very first time, there is no doubt the various Sevens Series legs will serve as a sequence of important stepping stones along the path to the 2016 Rio Games.

During last weekend’s Dubai leg, the USA and England particularly made their mark with impressive performances, and Powell acknowledged that early indications suggested this was going to be an extremely competitive season.

‘Teams have put a lot of emphasis on this season with the Olympics in mind. It seems to be that teams will have a bit more freedom to try things out, and they aren’t scared if they don’t come off, and I think that makes them more dangerous. I expect that there will be a lot more teams competing in the finals this season because every side seems to be coming in very well prepared. Everyone is pushing to be better and to try and put themselves in place to be able to secure a medal at the Olympics.’ 

With the inclusion of a number of new players in the Blitzboks squad, there is certainly an element of experimentation also taking place in the South African set-up as they look to expand their experienced sevens player pool.

‘The only positive that can possibly be taken from the injuries to Werner Kok and Cecil Afrika is that we could give game time to some of the newcomers,' Powell commented. 'The only way the new players will get better is if they are able to gain experience.’

For this weekend’s Cape Town Sevens, Dylan Sage is set to make his South African debut as a replacement for Kok, while Rosco Spekman comes in for Afrika.

Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

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Craig Lewis