PRETORIA - It was at this very juncture last season that the Springbok Sevens team put daylight between themselves and the chasing pack in the HSBC World Sevens Series. And they will look to do the same this weekend in Las Vegas.
It is in the US desert city where the Blitzboks must make sure that their adversaries' fortunes remain dry and barren while banking their chips in anticipation for the jackpot at the end of the series.
What has severely hampered the South Africans at the beginning of this season is their inability to have the same success rate as last season where they were dominant on the standings after winning three of the first four tournaments.
The Blitzboks will go into the weekend with only one tournament win this season and that was at the end of last year in Dubai but are top of the standings because of their persistence in finishing third in Cape Town and as losing finalists in Sydney and Hamilton.
Even though the Blitzboks had to endure the pain of losing two finals, it was the vital 38 points they picked up against Australia and Fiji in consecutive finals that saw them catapult themselves back to the top of the table on 77 points.
But with the series still so tightly contested and second placed New Zealand on 69 points, third placed Fiji (62 points) and then Australia (60 points) it will be vital that the men in green and gold don’t just rely on any old gambler’s luck.
“We had some luck in the past and I’m not sure why we tend to be so successful here, but that means nothing this time around,” said Powell.
Fortunately for Powell there will be some old heads within his squad to bolster the excitement and riches that come with the youthful talent especially that of tournament debutants Ryan Oosthuizen, Muller du Plessis and Selvyn Davids, who has already played for the Blitzbokke.
The presence of captain Philip Snyman will not only beef up their leadership but also bring about normality to a side that has looked disjointed when in dire need of the unity to see them be the last team standing.