Blitzboks prefer to look forward and will not dwell on their struggles this season
Blitzboks coach Neil Powell has made it clear that despite the team’s struggles this season‚ they are looking forward rather than backwards as they attempt to save their campaign in Las Vegas.
The Nevada stop is the fifth on the 10-leg World Sevens Series and marks the halfway point in the season. After four tournaments South Africa have only managed a third place‚ in Cape Town‚ which was noteworthy.
Powell also has four players in Las Vegas who have never been to the USA‚ underlining the changing face of the rebuilding team.
He chose to leave veteran Kyle Brown behind as the Blitzboks lay foundations for years to come.
The team also arrived in the USA a day earlier than usual‚ in an effort to acclimatise.
“We had a short turn-around from Sydney‚ which means that time to prepare for this tournament was not ideal‚” said Powell.
“The extra day will suit us‚ as we will have more than enough time to adapt to the time difference and the long travel‚ and it gives us another session to iron out the small issues that plagued our play in the previous two tournaments.”
Powell is looking for more consistency in execution‚ with the team not yet able to put together a solid combination of attack and defence.
“When we were good on attack‚ our defence lacked‚ and vice versa – it’s something we need to improve on‚” said Powell.
“This is especially true for our defence‚ where we are not keeping to our normal standards. We have a couple of exciting ball-runners here‚ so I am pretty sure the tries will come.
"It is keeping the opponents from scoring that will be the challenge.” The dynamics of the team is slightly different as well‚ with four players in their first USA tournament.
“The new guys have now done the long-haul trip and know what it feels like. They are still bringing good energy and I am keenly awaiting their performances‚” said Powell.
The Blitzboks face Japan and Chile on the opening day of the tournament‚ to be played from 1-3 March at Sam Boyd Stadium‚ which is early Saturday morning SA time.
They will play England in their last Pool D match on the second‚ as well as the first round of the knockout stages (early Sunday morning SA time). The semi-finals and final are played on the third day (early Monday morning SA time).
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