Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell believes his team has prepared well for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in Hong Kong, due to kick off on Friday 8 April in the Hong Kong Stadium. The Springbok Sevens team arrived in the city on Monday and Powell expressed his excitement with the tournament a couple of days away. Powell says: ‘Preparation wise it was key for us to get the guys fresh again and almost get that desire back to be successful. It is a tough season in that we only have two and a half weeks between tournaments. The guys are still struggling to get over the jetlag from the previous tournaments before they had to get on the plane to get to Hong Kong. We tried something new by resting the guys a bit more, so hopefully we got the balance right between rest and preparing and conditioning them for the tournament.’
The coach feels that a different focus this time around could also aid in a first ever title at this iconic venue. Powell says: ‘With regards to the tournament itself, we used to put too much pressure on ourselves to win here, as this is one we have not won in the past. Key for us is to focus on our processes and implement our stuff.’ Powell included new faces Stephan Dippenaar, Ryan Kankowski and debutant Siviwe Soyizwapi in his squad for the seventh tournament of the World Series.
The Blitzokke boss says: ‘There is still one or two players we are testing in this environment, with Ryan Kankowski and Siviwe Soyizwapi. They have done enough in the training sessions for us to be excited about and hopefully they will get enough time on the field to be tested properly. Stephan Dippenaar, although a senior player in our system, will be playing in his first tournament of the year as well and should be raring to go.’ The Springbok Sevens team will play in pool B alongside England, Scotland and Russia.