Photo: Raghavan Venugopal/

SA Sevens coach Neil Powell is in a positive frame of mind, ahead of the penultimate round of the 2017 World Sevens Series, being held in Paris at Stade Jean Bouin, starting on Saturday.

Powell has had significant time, since the Singapore tournament in mid-April, to prepare his full-strength squad for the last two rounds, with the final tournament being played in London next weekend.

He said: “This was one of the first preparation camps where we had all 13 players fit and able to train. I had individual chats with all the guys and they really are full of motivation and keen to get going.

“These are the last two tournaments of a long series, so it’s always a challenge to get the guys up for it. But the energy levels are definitely up and I am confident that the guys will put in the effort.”

The coach, who is looking to become the first person to win the World Rugby Sevens Series as both player and coach, has no illusions, though, on how tough the opening day will be in the French capital.

He added: “Scotland are always a tricky game to play first. They play a good brand of rugby, mixing up attack and keeping the ball alive very well.

“Japan can challenge any team on the day if they pitch up and the last one of the day against Canada will be a very physical affair.

“Canada will play nice and direct and we need to be up to it if we want to get into the Cup quarterfinals.”

SA Pool Fixtures on Saturday (SA times):

SA vs Scotland – 11:28 SA vs Japan – 14:54 SA vs Canada – 18:42.