South Africa preparing for Sydney blitz

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

South Africa’s Sevens are preparing for an opposition blitz in Sydney, after opening up a 12-point World Series lead.

The Blitzboks won two of the first three 2016-17 legs, only losing the Cup final in Cape Town, and captain Philip Snyman said they were preparing to have a target on their backs come Saturday.

“I think everybody wants to win the tournament this weekend so they're obviously going to come for us so we need to start all over again and do the basics right,” he said.

“We’ve got that first game against Japan and a tough pool Kenya and then England so there's no easy games anymore and we need to be up for it, we can't just wait for things to happen or think we're still in Wellington, the guys will start all over again.

“We still have one or two training sessions that we can work on one or two small things that we can improve on from last weekend.”

South Africa finished fourth in the inaugural Sydney Sevens, going down to Australia in the cup semi-final and Snyman said that gave them added motivation to clinch a win in Sydney.

“I think from last year I think it showed that it's really a tournament that can compete with all the other big tournaments out there so hopefully we can make it count,” he said.

“We haven't been able to be successful in this tournament in Sydney, so this weekend we need to start all over again but looking forward to it.

South Africa have stretched their World Series lead. Photo: Getty Images“The vibe is always great in Sydney and I think it's almost a sold-out crowd once again so looking forward to playing in front of a Sydney crowd.”

The biggest challenge for the World Series leaders might be in the weather, with temperatures set to hit 38 degrees on Sunday after a week where the humidity has rarely been lower than 80 per cent.

Snyman said they wouldn’t be leaning on the heavy atmosphere as an excuse at Allianz Stadium.

“You can't use anything as an excuse because all teams need to play in those conditions and it's going to be nice and sunny, so hopefully we can put a smile on the crowd's faces and hopefully it'll be a good weekend for Australia,” he said.

There’s an emotional motivation to finish on a high in Sydney, as the Blitzboks say goodbye to Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga Smith this weekend, with the pair heading for Super Rugby.