It is not quite in their own hands anymore, but the Springbok Sevens will still have the overall World Series title in mind when they take to the field in the London Sevens at Twickenham on Saturday and Sunday, according to Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell. The Blitzbokke achieved their main goal for the 2014/15 season last weekend in Glasgow when they qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio next year. But they also had another objective, to win the overall Sevens World Series.
Powell says: ‘We are still in a position to achieve that, so there will be a lot of motivation for us this weekend.’ The South Africans lost their top spot on the overall log to Fiji in Glasgow last weekend and now trail the South Sea side by five points. However, they can pip the leaders at the post to win their second overall title depending on the results at the final event of the series.
Powell, who was a playing member of the squad that won the 2008/09 title, has no illusions about the difficulty of this task. The Springbok Sevens face USA, Portugal and France in pool D of the tournament. The coach says: ‘There is no doubt that the HSBC Sevens World Series is more competitive than ever before, as every match you play has become a final in its own. You cannot let your guard slip for one second in any tournament. We will have to play to our potential if we want to be crowned the champions and, pending other results, that might not even be enough. We have three much respected opponents in France, Portugal and the USA in our pool and we cannot afford to be off the boil, as they will punish us. That said, we still believe we can win the series. Sevens is a weird, wonderful and totally unpredictable game and there is lot of rugby to be played in London. We will be trying our best as always for all our fans out there and to try and reward them for all their support this year.’
The team sees one change from the side that won the Plate Final at the Scotland Sevens in Glasgow last weekend, with Justin Geduld replacing the injured Cecil Afrika. The South African pool matches are (Saturday, 16 May):
10:00 – France
13:06 – Portugal
16:34 – USA