South Africa's Sevens rugby side have five weeks to go before the Wellington tournament they simply have to win if they hope to keep in touch with leaders New Zealand in the IRB Sevens World Series - but to achieve that, the Springboks will have to contend with a vastly stronger All Blacks side before their home crowd.
Already comfortably placed with two tournament wins from the two played at Dubai and George, New Zealand will also have the 2006/07 IRB Player of the Year, Afeleke Pelenise, captain Tafai Ioasa and playmakers Nigel Hunt and Tomasi Cama back for the Wellington tournament.
They were unavailable through injury or paternity leave.
New Zealand have now won four consecutive tournament titles in the series stretching back to London in May, and have 40 points after their two wins in this year's IRB Sevens series.
Fiji, beaten finalists at Dubai and George, are second with 32 points, South Africa (24) and Argentina (20).
Even at this early stage with six tournaments still to be played, these teams seem the only other realistic contenders for the series title. South Africa were eliminated in both semifinals to date.
In last year's series, the All Blacks reached the semifinals in all eight IRB tournaments, and won three of the four finals they played in.
Their only loss was the 31-12 defeat to South Africa in Dubai, when the Springboks scored 31 unanswered points after trailing 0-12.
The Springboks Sevens side will assemble in Stellenbosch on Thursday, where they will train for 11 days before flying off to the Darwin tournaments in Australia. - Sapa