Bok sevens have one hand on title

HONG KONG, CHINA: 26 MARCH 2009, Paul Treu during the Springboks Sevens Captains run ahead of the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens Tournament in Hong Kong, China. 

Photo by Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images
HONG KONG, CHINA: 26 MARCH 2009, Paul Treu during the Springboks Sevens Captains run ahead of the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens Tournament in Hong Kong, China. Photo by Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images

The successful defence of their title in this weekend's IRB Sevens World Series tournament in Adelaide will put South Africa in a position where their closest rivals, England, will have to win both the remaining tournaments to win the series.

The successful defence of their title in this weekend's IRB Sevens World Series tournament in Adelaide will put South Africa in a position where their closest rivals, England, will have to win both the remaining tournaments to win the series.

The Springboks will be able to afford two semifinal exits to clinch the IRB Series title. But that is not how Bok coach Paul Treu sees it. He would rather see them play to the standards they have set themselves, apart from the recent World Cup in Dubai.

A tournament win will bring him close to one of his targets and ideals, but he is experienced enough not to look too far ahead.

"Next week is so crucial for us in terms of keeping together as a team, believing in what we want to achieve," he told the IRB website.

"It will be wonderful for us if we can go out there and defend our title. The [Adelaide] surface suits us as well but we're not going to focus on winning tournaments, we just want to top our pool and then take it from there."

South Africa start their defence in the only round played tomorrow when they face the Cook Islands.

The minnows competed with a fair amount of success in Wellington - and if there is a weakness in the South African side, it is their loss of focus from time to time.

On Saturday the Boks play Japan and Kenya, who beat New Zealand last weekend (again!).

Should they win Pool D, they will face the second-placed side in Pool C, which is probably the most difficult pool with world champions Wales and defending World Series champions New Zealand vying with the ever-improving United States and giant-killers Tonga for places in the quarterfinals.

It is likely the Springboks will face Wales but the Boks could lose to Kenya and the Kiwis to Wales in one of many permutations to decide the opponents.

England will have to be at their best to win Pool A where they are grouped with the difficult Samoa and Australia - and don't count out Portugal for an upset - while Group B's Argentina or Fiji are likely to await England in the quarterfinals.

Tomorrow's round starts at 9am (SA time) with South Africa playing the Cook Islands at 9.52am.

On Saturday they play Japan at 5.57am and face Kenya at 9.40am, and the quarters on Sunday start at 4.36am. - Sapa

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