CAPE TOWN – The Springbok Sevens team don’t need to do a lot to capture the hearts of their home fans, or any other Sevens fans around the world, they’ve already done that.
But there are a number of ways they can boost their chances of lifting the cup in front of their home crowd following their 2017/18 World Sevens Series opening win in Dubai last weekend.
So, here are the five ways I think they can do just that.
1 Just find each other
In the build-up to the Cape Town event, coach Neil Powell said there were a few areas that he’d like to see some improvement in - those areas being “one or two things on defence” and “a sharper attack”.
On day one in Dubai, the Blitzboks – who pride themselves on their defence – could perhaps have been a bit better in this department, but things looked much better on day two when their defence was again crucial in their successful defence of their title.
Whether it’s on attack or defence, it’s understandable that it will take a while for the defending series champions to be completely in sync again, especially considering that a bulk of the team played 15s this year and joined the Sevens camp late.
But it will get better the more they play together, and just imagine what this team can achieve at the Cape Town Stadium when they find their rhythm properly.
2 Leave the ghosts of the past right therein the past
Yes, the Blitzboks won the 2016/17 Series in superb style, but one team made sure that things weren’t always very easy for the South Africans.
Yep, that team was England, and those Roses threw a couple of thorns at the Blitzboks a number of times throughout the season.
England of course won the Cape Town event last year following the Blitzboks’ celebrations in the desert, and that is a fact that the Powell’s men shouldn’t spend too much time reflecting on.
Sure, going down to England in the final was a lesson, but if there’s anything they should be taking into their home leg, it’s motivation to lift the Cape cup for the second time in three years.
There can be no England ghosts looming in any of the South Africans’ minds. Yesterday, workhorse Werner Kok said they want to go one better in Cape Town this time, and that is all that matters.
3 More of the same, please
I know, there is nothing revolutionary about these five points and this one is no different. I mean, what advice can be given to a team who knows how to win trophies all too well?
Point is, I just hope to see more of the same, more of the winning formula that helped the defending World Sevens Series champions win five out of 10 tournaments, and five of the eight finals they played in last season.
That means more of that defence, more lethal attack, more of that breakdown work, more of everything, please.
4 Just play
A big part of the Cape Town Sevens is enjoyment, and that enjoyment shouldn’t be limited to the Sevens enthusiasts in the crowd. Whenever the Blitzboks play, it always seems like they’re having fun, and nothing should be any different this weekend.
5 Unleash Senatla
This always goes without saying, but Seabelo Senatla should be even more motivated to rake in the tries this weekend. Senatla is four touchdowns short of reaching the 200-try mark, and he will also play in his 35th World Sevens tournament.
Not like he ever needs a reason to do damage, but those two milestones should definitely galvanise the exciting 24-year-old to set the Cape Town turf alight.
Senatla isn’t the only Blitzbok dangerman, there are many, but he will be the man on a mission today.