CAPE TOWN – While the Blitzboks’ victory in Vancouver gave them some good momentum, coach Neil Powell is looking for a “fresh start” in Hong Kong.
The Blitzboks have never finished top of the podium in Hong Kong, and up until a few weeks ago, that had been the case in Canada as well.
It would probably be safe to assume that the Blitzboks would want to emulate the performance and result they produced in Vancouver.
But even if that’s so, Powell said the team won’t be focused on their recent success too much.
“There are a couple of changes and a total of four new players from the Vancouver tournament and that considered, I am happy with the way things went,” said Powell.
“That win will not mean anything here in Hong Kong.
“It did help with the belief and was good reward for the work done up to that point. It gave the squad some momentum. We start afresh here in Hong Kong though and all focus will be on delivering a performance we can be proud of in our first match against Japan.”
Powell made two significant changes to the squad for the trip to Hong Kong; moving Werner Kok to the forwards and including the uncapped Angelo Davids.
WATCH: Angelo Davids receives his Blitzboks match jersey in Hong Kong:
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That moment when you are given your very first match jersey and the rest of the #Blitzboks confirm they have your back. That is a great feeling. Congrats @angelo_davids12 Enjoy that special moment! @castlefreesa @asics_za @fnbsa #BestOfUs @jamesmurphysa @neil05powell
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And as has been the case throughout the season, Powell said the focus will be on individual and team development.
“They need to understand their roles and responsibilities in the team, so we did focus a bit on that,” explained Powell.
“The most pleasing aspect about the win last time was the development of individual players into the team environment and the development of the team in executing our processes. If we can continue making progress in that regard I will be a happy coach.”
Powell said the younger players (four are making Hong Kong debuts) have brought heaps of energy into the squad: “It is now up to the senior players to use that energy and guide the guys in channelling it into the right direction. If we manage that, we will be good for this weekend,” he said.
The Blitzboks will open their Hong Kong campaign against Japan today, before taking on Scotland and Samoa on day two of the three-day event.
And it’s not a task Powell is taking lightly.
“We played them (Japan) in Vegas early last month and won 26-0, but they had us under pressure at times,” said Powell.
The Springbok Sevens’ Pool A fixtures (SA times):