JOHANNESBURG – BlitzBoks assistant coach Renfred Dazel has challenged his players to show the killer instinct of past South African Sevens teams when they play in the fourth leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Sydney this weekend.
The BlitzBoks have had an up-and-down time of it in the three tournaments to date - in Dubai, Cape Town and Hamilton, where they finished fourth - and are some way off the high standard of the past few years.
Dazel said before the start of this weekend's tournament, he wanted his young team to be more clinical in their finishing and defence.
“We knew and realised losing the likes of Dylan (Sage), Kwagga (Smith), Seabelo (Senatla) and Ruhan (Nel) would have an impact (this season), but that is not an excuse for our ¬performances so far this series,” said Dazel. “We need to do better in certain areas and have worked hard to improve, something I feel we are doing.”
Dazel added the knock-out punch of the past was lacking, but was still a part of the team’s arsenal.
“Putting teams away in the last two, three minutes is something we will have to do better, no doubt. The previous squad did that and we need to improve in that department of our game.
“There is progress, too, though, as the players are improving and picking up more experience and confidence as the series goes on.
“Guys such as Dewald (Human) and Zain (Davids) are now starting for the first time, and Stedman (Gans) and Justin (Geduld) are back from injury, so we are getting better by the minute.”
This weekend, the BlitzBoks are up against hosts Australia, Tonga and Argentina in Pool D.
Geduld, who is back in action after undergoing knee surgery in December, said he was confident the team would soon hit the highs of the past.
“We have been in situations like this before and we have responded,” said Geduld, who has scored 872 points (89 tries, 212 conversions and a penalty goal) in his 200 appearances.
“We are still a good team and the talent is there to deliver winning results. As soon as that jersey goes over your head, the desire to represent your country and to play for the guy next to you is there. To do your best is a given.”@jacq_west