BlitzBoks looking for a good start

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 13:14
Large neil powell with team 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: South Africa will be looking for a solid start to the Sevens World Series, when the first tournament of the 2016/17 season kicks off in Dubai on Friday.

The BlitzBoks are top seeds in Pool B with Uganda, Scotland and the United States.

Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, said the team is keen to get going.
 
"Last year we started introducing some established fifteens guys into our structure as we looked at finding the right combinations for the Olympic Games," said Powell.
 
"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."
 
 Powell was excited to see what his squad can do in the desert city.
 
"We have some solid performers that have done well at this level. Cecil Afrika [2011], Werner Kok [2015] and Seabelo Senatla [2016] were named World Sevens Players of the Year in the past and all three are looking very sharp in training," said Powell.
 
"Kyle Brown and Chris Dry have played for us more than 50 times and our new captain, Philip Snyman, is getting close to the 40 tournament mark already. All that experience and talent will count for nothing though if we do not bring our best effort to the field. We are facing Uganda, Scotland and the United States in what will be a very tough pool."
 
Any opening match is always tough and Uganda will have a lot to prove, so Powell was wary of their opening match.
 
"I don't have to point to the Scotland match at all, we all know what happened in our previous clash and us losing the London Sevens after the final buzzer," said Powell.
 
"We will be up for this one. The United States remains one of the most dangerous teams on the circuit. They can really hurt you with their pace and counter-attack, so we need to be clinical and have no tolerance for mistakes, either in attack or defence.
 
"Most of all, though, everyone in the squad is 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."
 
Powell is hoping that history can repeat itself, as the South Africans have won this tournament four times before.
 
"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.
 
South Africa: Chris Dry, Philip Snyman, Dylan Sage, Albertus Smith, Werner Kok, Kyle Brown, Branco du Preez, Rosko Specman, Justin Geduld, Cecil Afrika, Ruhan Nel, Seabelo Senatla.

Reserve player: Siviwe Soyizwapi

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Pool 19
Team P W D L Pts
England Sevens 0 0 0 0 19
Pool 20
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Uganda Sevens 0 0 0 0 2
Pool A
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Fiji Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Canada Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool B
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Australia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
France Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool C
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United States Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Japan Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool D
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South Africa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Kenya Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Russia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool
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Wales Sevens