Johanneburg – The Springbok Sevens rugby squad left for Australia on Monday to participate in the opening tournament of the World Series which takes place at the Gold Coast on the weekend.
South Africa were seeded first in Pool B and faced stiff opposition from a trio of European teams headed by England, France and Spain.
“We realise that every time a South African team takes the field then the expectation is for us to win,” newly-appointed head coach, Neil Powell said.
“It is a huge motivating factor for the team and something we as a group embrace.”
The team's preparations for the annual World Series kick-off at the Gold Coast had gone well and they were looking forward to the series, Powell said.
“A few players ended the last season with some injury niggles and they used the break and pre-season period to sort themselves.
“Playing-wise, we used the Middelburg Sevens to try out a few new ideas and I am glad for the valuable opportunities it gave us to gauge ourselves.”
The team would be without former coach Paul Treu for the first time in almost a decade, but Powell said not much had changed within the set-up.
“I know a lot of other countries have changed coaching and player personnel but we are fortunate that, apart from the change at head coach, we have a settled squad and management.
“However, we are taking nothing for granted and fully realise we will have to go out there and perform to the best of our ability.
“Vuyo (Zangqa, assistant coach) and I sat down a while ago and decided we will do only some minor tweaks because our core structure is so good thanks to the great work done by Paul.”
The Springbok Sevens would be aiming to improve on their runners-up spot last season, where they also clinched three tournament titles. – Sapa