December 7, 2018 10:00 am
CAPE TOWN – Things didn’t go well for the Blitzboks in Dubai, that we all know. But with the opening leg of the 2018-19 World Sevens Series a thing of the past, the defending series champions will look to put their sixth-place finish behind them and get off to a good start in Cape Town this weekend.
Here are three ways they can do just that in front of the Cape Town Stadium crowd.
Make those tackles
The Springboks Sevens team pride themselves on their defence, but at certain stages in the desert – especially against England in the quarter-final – they produced a performance that couldn’t be further from their usually exemplary defence. They slipped off tackles, went in high a couple of times and opted for double hits when it sometimes maybe wasn’t the best choice.
During the week, coach Neil Powell and a number of Blitzbok players touched on the importance of getting their defence right tomorrow and Sunday. And while few struggles can be expected given the make-up of the team (a number of new guys have come in, while a large number of experienced players have crossed over to Fifteens), the sooner they get it right, the better.
Blitzbok coach @Neil5Powell has named an unchanged group of 13 for @CapeTown7s . @JustinGeduld has been cleared to play and is in the match day 12 with Selvyn Davids the 13 th player. @CastleFreeSA @FNBSA @ASICSRugby #weplayforyou pic.twitter.com/5WvZPokLIY
— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) December 6, 2018
Try, but not so hard
On day one in particular in Dubai, a number of mistakes courtesy of an individualistic approach crept in. Their decision-making wasn’t always 100% – whether it was a forced pass or holding onto the ball and going alone – although it got better as the weekend progressed.
Also, discipline. It was a bit of an issue in Dubai and those yellow cards against Argentina in their last Pool game last weekend hurt them. So as desperate as they might be to right the wrongs of Dubai, they can’t afford to let that desperation spill into errors.
Let the attack flow
Earlier this week, Powell said another work-on is fluidity on attack. The fact that they sometimes struggled to string phases together is one thing the Blitzbok chief wants to see improvement in come tomorrow. They appeared halted with ball in hand last weekend.
Just like with their defence, things will get better with time. But execution can only aid their progress in the second leg of the series.
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