Sevens preview: Not a two-horse race

Thu, 20 Mar 2014 15:19
Large neil powell sa 7s

South Africa head into this weekend's Tokyo tournament only two points behind IRB Sevens World Series leaders New Zealand.

South Africa head into this weekend's Tokyo tournament only two points behind IRB Sevens World Series leaders New Zealand.

With try-scoring machine Seabelo Senatla back in the team, the side will be aiming to reclaim the Series lead at the Prince Chichibu Stadium.

South Africa lost to New Zealand in the Final of the Wellington leg the last time the two teams met and that result also handed the World Series lead back to their rivals.

Should the Springboks defend the title they won 12 months ago in Tokyo, it would allow them to reclaim pole position on the points table.

Speaking to the Japanese media ahead of the event, South Africa Sevens coach Neil Powell said his charges have no wish to become too caught up in the World Series title race.

"The squad is really looking forward to their title defence this weekend in Tokyo," said Powell.

He added he would seek to use the experience gained by his team at the same venue last year to assist them in their challenge of defending their title.

"We will fall back on the guys that were here last year, and especially the management, considering I have never played or coached here before. We must not get too caught up on the table and the log points because we will place too much pressure on ourselves. It is all about the process, and if we do things well on the field the outcomes will follow," according to Powell.

Despite going down to New Zealand in the Wellington Cup Final, the Springbok Sevens approach their Tokyo challenge with a rich vein of good form.

After their fourth place at the season-opening tournament in Australia, South Africa have reached the last four Cup finals this season and their mantra has been consistency.

While many think the season boils down to a two-horse race, Powell admits Fiji and England could still upset the apple cart with big performances in the remaining four rounds.

"Fiji is a great team and England are playing some good rugby at the moment," added Powell.

"I think any of us could (still) win the Series. If either New Zealand or us slip up in one of the tournaments, the other sides will have a chance, so it is important to tick that consistency box. We want to reach at least the semi-finals and hopefully we can do that here as well as next week in Hong Kong."

Junior Springbok Senatla will provide extra speed in an already quick backline, while Justin Geduld takes over the flyhalf duties in place of Cecil Afrika who was unable to travel to the Far East because of a hamstring strain.


Pool A: New Zealand, Canada, Wales, Portugal
Pool B: South Africa, Argentina, Kenya, Japan
Pool C: Fiji, Samoa, France, United States
Pool D: England, Australia, Scotland, Spain

Day One schedule - Saturday, March 22:
(Kick-off is local time - GMT minus nine hours)
Match 1: Fiji v France - 10.00
Match 2: Samoa  v United States - 10.22
Match 3: England v Scotland - 10.44
Match 4: Australia v Spain - 11.06
Match 5: New Zealand v Wales - 11.28
Match 6: Canada v Portugal, 11.50
Match 7: South Africa v Kenya - 12.12
Match 8: Argentina v Japan - 12.34
Match 9: Fiji v United States - 13.18
Match 10: Samoa  v France - 13.40
Match 11: England v Spain - 14.02
Match 12: Australia v Scotland - 14.24
Match 13: New Zealand v Portugal - 14.46
Match 14: Canada v Wales - 15.08
Match 15: Argentina v Kenya - 15.30
Match 16: South Africa v Japan - 15.52
Match 17: France v United States - 17.30
Match 18: Fiji v Samoa - 17.52
Match 19: Scotland v Spain - 18.14
Match 20: England v Australia - 18.36
Match 21: Wales v Portugal - 18.58
Match 22: New Zealand v Canada - 19.20
Match 23: Kenya v Japan - 19.42
Match 24: South Africa v Argentina - 20.04

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
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Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Connacht v Edinburgh 19h35 Sportsground
Dragons v Cheetahs 19h35 Rodney Parade
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 19h35 Scotstoun
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Kings v Treviso 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 15h15 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h30 Thomond Park
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Ospreys v Leinster 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Pool 0
Team P W D L Pts
Spain Sevens 0 0 0 0 20
Papua New Guinea 0 1 0 0 1
Pool 00
Team P W D L Pts
Uruguay 0 0 0 1 1
Pool 19
Team P W D L Pts
England Sevens 0 0 0 0 19
Pool 20
Team P W D L Pts
Uganda Sevens 0 0 0 0 2
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Fiji Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Canada Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Australia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
France Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
Argentina Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
United States Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool D
Team P W D L Pts
South Africa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Kenya Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Russia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Team P W D L Pts
Wales Sevens