Team will forget past wins and focus on Canada, says Powell
In these heady and unprecedented times for the SA Sevens team‚ the only people who remain with their feet firmly on the ground in the wake of the side’s achievements and performances are the Blitzboks themselves.
After winning four of the five 2016-17 HSBC World Series events so far‚ claiming 107 out of a possible 110 log points‚ and sitting 24 points clear of Fiji at the top of the standings‚ there is cause for satisfaction.
The Blitzboks have won in Dubai‚ Wellington‚ Sydney and last week in Las Vegas with a runners-up finish at their home tournament in Cape Town being the only blemish on their near-perfect record.
They have also won 28 of 30 matches on the circuit this season.
But coach Neil Powell is having none of the suggestions that the overall title is in the bag.
Yesterday, when the squad arrived in Vancouver, Canada for the sixth round of the 10-leg series‚ Powell put them straight to work again and back into the same routine that has brought them so much success.
“It’s all about maintaining our own high standards now‚” Powell said.
“We are happy we could open the gap at the top of the standings a little further in Las Vegas.
“But we have to take every opportunity that comes our way because it can change quickly in this series.
“One or two injuries to vital players or a bad bounce of the ball and you could find yourself in trouble. We will go back to zero‚ close the doors on last week and focus on Vancouver.
“Every team is improving because they are spending more time together as the season goes on.
“So it means we have to continue to step up and be better every time we get on the field.”
Powell also had to integrate new players last week with stalwarts such as record try-scorer Seabelo Senatla and hooker Kwagga Smith out of the mix.
As the season progresses the Blitzboks’ depth has been tested‚ but so far they have demonstrated that all the preparations have paid off as newcomers such as Dylan Sage and Siviwe Soyizwapi seamlessly fitted in.
“The players deserve credit for coming in and playing their own type of game‚ instead of trying to be like the players they replaced‚” Powell said.
“It still feels a bit unreal that we are doing so well. But it’s credit to the system and the way the squad is like a family on and off the field,” he said.