CAPE TOWN – Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell says they are going to have to be more clinical on attack and sturdier on defence when they take the field during the Cape Town leg of the World Sevens Series this weekend.
The Blitzboks’ disappointing sixth-place finish in Dubai, the opening leg of the series, revealed a number of work-ons for Powell’s team.
Their defence against England was far from the tight product the South Africans usually deliver, while retrieving restart kicks is also something they will have on their review list.
Powell also highlighted their attack and discipline as areas of concern.
“I think we can be more way more clinical on attack. I think there were a number of instances where we didn’t have the ball for more than two or three phases on attack, and that’s not how we play,” Powell said at Cape Town International Airport yesterday.
“I also think our tackle completion rate wasn’t very high, we missed a lot of tackles. There were also one or two errors in terms of our defensive system, some of the guys didn’t always fulfil their roles.
“You can’t lose two lineouts against Scotland and you can’t give away two yellow cards against Argentina. We have to work on our discipline as well.
“England got two of their restarts back, I don’t think they scored from it directly. But we’re definitely going to try and get the ball from those restarts. We’re going to have to have a look at it and see what we can do differently.
“It certainly doesn’t help that we don’t have the tallest guys in our team, but it’s my responsibility to make sure we get it right.”
The Blitzboks team’s sixth place @Dubai7s on Saturday was one of their worst starts @WorldRugby7s in recent seasons, but @Neil5Powell feels there was improvement as the tournament progressed. @CastleFreeSA @FNBSA @ASICSRugby pic.twitter.com/gpOzVB9HWi— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) December 1, 2018
The Blitzboks won their first two games on day one against Zimbabwe and Samoa, before falling short against Argentina in their last Pool game.
They followed that up with another loss against England in the Cup quarter-finals, and then went on to thump Scotland 20-0 in the Plate playoff.
Against Fiji in the fifth-place final, the Blitzboks built on their outing against the Scots, but an extra-time try snatched the win for the Islanders.
When asked what sparked the difference in performance against England and then Scotland and Fiji, Powell said: “I can almost say it’s because the guys felt the pressure in the other matches.”
The Blitzboks have been drawn in Pool A alongside Dubai champions New Zealand, Samoa and Zimbabwe for the Cape Town Sevens.
The pools for the Cape Town Sevens:
A New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Samoa
B USA, Argentina, Spain, Japan
C England, Fiji, France, Kenya
D Australia, Scotland, Canada, Wales@WynonaLouw