While Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell has stuck to what worked for him in Dubai in naming an unchanged side for the Cape Town Sevens, there are still a number of challenges for the high-flying Blitzboks.
Siviwe Soyizwapi will lead the same 11 men that left Dubai last weekend as gold medal winners after defeating defending champions, New Zealand, in the final and keeping them scoreless.
While they got the job done in the UAE, Powell spoke about his concerns whether or not the team, comprised of young talent and valuable experience, would be able to find each other after an early scare against their fellow Africans.
But they got through it and found their rhythm as the tournament progressed, especially in the play-offs.
As you would often hear in Sevens, there are no more easy games. So the one thing Powell and Co will be out for this weekend is a strong start, especially given the pool they’ve been drawn in (Japan, Fiji and the US).
Adding to Powell’s sentiments, experienced campaigner Chris Dry also said they have some fixing to do, although they got the gold in the 2019/20 World Series opener.
Playing in a three-day tournament comes with its challenges.
Even if you do start well, you have to start all over again on Day Two, as teams would play their first game on Day One and the remaining two on Day Two when a three-day format is at play. The three-day tournament can cause a break in momentum.
That means that the Blitzboks won’t just need to start well, but also be able to switch right back on Day Two to secure a play-off spot.
“We certainly played better as the tournament progressed, but this weekend we start at zero again,” said Powell.
“The players realise that last week’s performance will not mean anything this week.
“We are playing three very capable opponents and will have to be at our very best just to get out of our pool.
“Japan is a difficult opponent to start against and Fiji and US were the top two teams in last year’s series.”