JOHANNESBURG – Neil Powell’s injury-ravaged side were well and truly out-classed in the US a week ago but they get another chance to shine this weekend, at a venue where they have been runners-up in the last two years.
“Overall we have done well in North America,” said captain Phillip Snyman yesterday as the team got down to business after a few quieter days in British Colombia.
While the team still trained, they also managed to take in some local sports culture by attending an ice hockey match, among other things.
“We had to get our bodies moving again after the tough tournament in Las Vegas,” said Snyman, one of the few seniors left in the squad. We’ve worked on a few things that went astray over there and I think we’re back on track.”
Snyman added he was confident the BlitzBoks - still series leaders by 10 points over New Zealand - would bounce back this week and be the competitive force of old.
They’re in Pool D with old enemy New Zealand, Russia and Scotland.
“If we play to our standards we will be competitive. We are looking for consistency again as that is one of the reasons why we are still leading the series. There have been five different winners in five tournaments this season and we would love nothing more than to change that. We want to win again... Dubai was a long time ago,” he said.
With several new players in the squad because of injuries to the veterans, a major challenge again awaits the South Africans, but Snyman sees it as a positive for the future of the team.
“These youngsters have actually trained with us over a long period. But that still puts extra pressure on the seniors to provide some spark, but it is up to us to put the new guys at ease and make them aware of what we want to achieve on the field.
“The positive is that the new guys bring a fresh energy into the squad and that is something that helps the senior players, too.”
Some of the newer players who’ll be in action this week include Marco Labuschagne, Ryan Oosthuizen, Zain Davids, Selvyn Davids, Stedman Gans and Muller du Plessis.
The Vancouver tournament gets underway tomorrow night (SA time).