IT IS Fiji and New Zealand that are the kings of Hong Kong, the most sought-after tournament on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens series circuit
But the Blitzbokke are out to change that and not only depose the stranglehold that the island nations have enjoyed but also take a giant leap towards their own ambition of becoming kings of the sevens world.
The Blitzbokke continue to lead the world series standings at 126 points, with second placed England 23 points adrift and Fiji 26 behind while New Zealand languish in fourth place on 84 points.
But Blitzbokke coach Neil Powell is not fooled by his team’s standing and knows that they walk around with a target on their backs after winning four of the six tournaments so far this season.
At the same time, Powell is aware of the extra effort that all teams put into ensuring that they do well in the prime tournament on the circuit and says nothing will be handed on a golden platter for his side.
“Ja it is always going to be tougher every time we get back onto the field to have that consistency and go all the way. I think all the teams are chasing us now and everybody wants to be successful. There are no givens out there, you can’t just pitch up and think you are going to be successful,” Powell said.
”We are going to have to start all over again and it will be a new challenge for us. We can’t expect the same challenges that we had in Vancouver and Las Vegas. This is going to be different. All the teams are upping their performances when they play in Hong Kong and we must make sure that we are ready when we come up against France on Friday.”
The Blitzbokke will come up against France in their opening match on Friday (2.40pm) before taking on Kenya and Canada (7.56am and 11.56am on Saturday respectively) and if they do manage to successfully negotiate themselves out of their group, they will set themselves up with a date with destiny as they will come face-to-face with either New Zealand or Fiji in the quarterfinals.
“It will be important for us to be successful this weekend again and hopefully go all the way. We can’t choose who we are getting at what stage of the competition. If we want to be successful we have to beat everybody; whether you get them in the pool, quarterfinals, semifinals or final. If we want to win this tournament we will have to beat every team we come up against,” said Powell.
Springbok Sevens team: Chris Dry, Philip Snyman, Dylan Sage, Zain Davids, Werner Kok, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Branco du Preez, Tim Agaba, Selvyn Davids, Cecil Afrika, Stedman Gans, Ruhan Nel. Reserve: Ryan Oosthuizen.