PRETORIA - In an ideal world the Blitzboks would be hoping to sew up the Sevens world series during the Hong Kong and Singapore tournaments over the next two weekends.
But reality dictates that they will go into the Hong Kong event starting on Friday without some of their most influential stars. And they have not yet won this particular tournament.
Powell always knew that he was going to have to play most of the season without star players Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga Smith, but untimely injuries to Kyle Brown, Justin Geduld and the in-form Rosko Specman may have put paid to any ideas of ensuring that the Asian leg of the series secures them their second world title.
The Blitzboks have played themselves into the reckoning to become world champions by winning four of the six tournaments played so far, but have lost some of that killer instinct and ability to put teams away with ease that they enjoyed earlier in the season, without their injured stars.
However, Powell still possesses a potent squad with the likes of former World Sevens Player of the Year Werner Kok, in-form forward Chris Dry, Branco du Preez, Cecil Afrika, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Philip Snyman and now recovered Tim Agaba part of the squad.
As inexperienced as some of the other squad members may be - players like Stedman Gans, Ryan Oosthuizen and Selvyn Davids - Powell takes some comfort from the that he has worked with the players since last year as part of the academy in Stellenbosch.
“I don’t think we had the ideal preparation for Hong Kong because of the many players we had to manage to get on the plane, but we always say that if we wait for the perfect circumstances and perfect preparations you are going to wait forever to be successful,” said Powell.
“We are going to go out there and make it happen. I’m very happy with the squad, still a lot of quality players there and one or two new guys that are coming into the system.
“The new guys have been part of our system since November, so I am happy that they have the fundamentals and they know what their roles are in the system,” Powell said.
Over and above having to contend with the unenviable history of never having won in Hong Kong, Powell foresees a tough programme, even in the first round.
“It will be a challenging pool with France, Kenya and Canada and a tough cross-over with possibly Fiji or New Zealand (in the quarter-final), so we’ll have to make sure that we are up for every single game,” Powell said.
The weekend’s tournament in Hong Kong will also be Afrika’s 50th in the green and gold and there will be added pressure on the side to do well for one of its stalwarts and the man who holds the record for the most points scored for the national team.