Balanced BlitzBoks hunt first HK title

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 13:08
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SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Springboks Sevens coach Neil Powell has included four players who have not experienced the cauldron of the Hong Kong in his side.

The South Africans have contested all six finals played so far in the series and will be chasing their first title in Hong Kong when the tournament starts on Friday.

Selvyn Davids will make his debut in Hong Kong, Stedman Gans and Zain Davids are fairly new to the series and Dylan Sage did not travel to Hong Kong last year in his first full season on the circuit.

"The youngsters are improving all the time. They will make mistakes, but that is part of the growth of any player," Powell said.

"I am pleased how they progressed, they now need some playing team on the field. We have a balanced side, with a number of stalwarts and some exciting talent coming off the bench, so we are hoping to again give a good account of ourselves,"

Powell feels that the intensity at training pointed to his team being switched on for the task at hand.

"I am happy with our preparation, with all 13 players on the field working hard," said Powell.

"We had to nurse some of the guys back to fitness in Stellenbosch, in order to get them here, but there was no sign of slacking on the field, so I am pleased with the intensity, as that is always a good sign,"

The coach admitted that their Hong Kong track record was not good, compared to teams such as Fiji, New Zealand and Samoa.

"Fiji and New Zealand tend to lift themselves when playing here, so we will have to be at our very best if we want to compete," said Powell.

"We never want to make Hong Kong bigger than it is and with all the focus on getting the injured guys back and managing them, we almost forgot which tournament it was we are preparing for, so we arrived without the hype this time,"

Powell was also very proud of stalwart Cecil Afrika, who will be running out in his 50th tournament.

"Cecil understands this game. He is a strong leader and few players deserve this more than Cecil. Maybe we can also reward him with a tournament win like we did with Branco du Preez in Las Vegas," the coach said.

Afrika himself said he will enjoy the moment: “I never expected to reach 50 tournaments way back when I played in my first back in Dubai in 2009. To play one tournament is already an achievement, so I am pretty proud.

"I can still recall that first touch, coming off the bench. I had to throw into the line-out, something that was not a strong suit of mine. My hands were pretty sweaty. I also fondly remembers my first try a week later in George. It was against France. I also managed two more for my first hat-trick,"

Afrika suffered a number of setbacks, including a serious knee injury in Hong Kong.

"My first knee injury was a bad one and the original thought was that was I would be lucky to have one more season left," said Afrika.

"So I had to work very hard during the rehab to make sure I look after myself and extend my career. A couple of years later I was named Player of the Tournament here in Hong Kong, so that was a good feeling after my previous memory of the injury,"

South Africa Sevens: Chris Dry, Philip Snyman, Dylan Sage, Zain Davids, Werner Kok, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Branco du Preez , Tim Agaba, Selvyn Davids, Cecil Afrika, Stedman Gans, Ruhan Nel, Ryan Oosthuizen

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SEVENS
MORE LOGS
Pool 0
Team P W D L Pts
Korea Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool 00
Team P W D L Pts
Chile 0 0 0 1 10
Papua New Guinea 0 1 0 0 1
Hong Kong 0 0 0 0 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
Canada Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 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
United States Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 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
Pool
Team P W D L Pts
Wales Sevens