The Blitzboks' Werner Kok is looking to an improved team effort this weekend. Photo: Kelly L Cox/USA Today Sport

CAPE TOWN – Werner Kok is determined to make up for the “one or two” tackles he missed in London last weekend - and that isn’t the only making up the Blitzboks will be looking to do in Paris this weekend.

The Blitzboks finished joint seventh in the penultimate leg of the 2018/19 World Sevens Series, a disappointment made easier to deal with by the top-four spot the team secured, which granted them automatic qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The USA, Fiji and New Zealand are the other teams that qualified.

The Blitzboks were given some homework by coach Neil Powell and had to analyse their performances in London. “It was an exercise that delivered some positive results,” Kok said.

“We all had a good look at ourselves and what we did on the weekend. The stats were not that bad, to be honest, but we did let ourselves down at crucial times. Our decision-making was not that great and we did not play directly enough at times.

“We did take in a lot by watching our games and doing some self-analysis. We did the same in Vancouver and Singapore, and had good results after that. I think we will be ready this weekend, especially as the three new guys will also be bringing it on.”

The team had the third best defensive record in London, third best tackle completion rate, and with Fiji, have 22 wins in their last 30 outings - the best winning percentage on the series.

Kok has made 115 tackles, the third highest. “There were one or two that I missed, so will be making up for that this weekend,” he said.

Powell also added that the new arrivals who joined them this week brought some much-needed energy.

Cecil Afrika, Dewald Human and Mfundo Ndhlovu joined the team in France yesterday, replacing Stedman Gans, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Selvyn Davids for the 10th tournament.

“We needed their arrival to bring that energy, as we are hard on ourselves and a bit down following London,” said Powell. “They came smiling and believing, so we are all back to deliver a determined effort.”

The Blitzboks will face Australia, Wales and Kenya in Pool B on Saturday.

@WynonaLouw

 

Cape Argus

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