Home Sport Blitzboks aim for Paris 2024 qualification – target Hong Kong Sevens quarters

Blitzboks aim for Paris 2024 qualification – target Hong Kong Sevens quarters

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Another poor performance might hurt the Blitzboks’ hopes of qualifying automatically for next year’s Olympic Games in Paris.

Blitzboks assistant coach Philip Snyman
Blitzboks assistant coach Philip Snyman. File Picture: Shaun Roy, BackpagePix

Cape Town — The Springbok Sevens will aim for the stars at the Hong Kong Sevens tournament, knowing that another poor display might be the end of their hopes of qualifying automatically for the Olympic Games next year.

Although they are drawn in a tough pool with Ireland, New Zealand and Kenya, the Blitzboks have set their sights on reaching the quarter-finals in the Far East.

It’s a tournament where they haven’t tasted success yet, and with a fairly young squad, it will be a tough task this year.

But the unpredictable nature of Sevens does not make this an impossible one.

And with a few new faces in the squad due to injuries, it could be the perfect opportunity for the South Africans to pull a surprise on their opponents.

The Blitzboks are currently ranked seventh on the overall log of the World Series with only the top four teams qualifying automatically for Paris 2024.

“Our first aim this weekend will be to make the quarter-finals,” assistant coach Philip Snyman said according to a statement.

“We have a very difficult pool, but we have been working very hard in the last few weeks, also to bring the enjoyment back to our squad.

“If we can do that, it will give our confidence a big boost and hopefully all will fall into place after that. I believe that if we play with intensity and momentum, and in our opponents’ faces on defence, we will have a good weekend and we can make the quarter-finals.”

It’s especially on defence where the side will have to make a step up. Normally they are a very good tackling side, but in the last couple of tournaments they’ve been struggling.

New Zealand and Kenya are physical sides who will punish you if you fail to make first time tackles. Ireland have speedsters who can exploit the smallest of gaps in their opponent’s defensive line.

“We know how dangerous we can be with ball in hand, but that means we can’t afford to turn over possession and we need quick ball from the breakdowns, so we can try and get our speedsters in space.

“Then, we need to make a big step up on defence. We only completed 56% of our tackles in Vancouver and we need to get that up to at least 80%. If we do that, we will concede five or six fewer tries, and hopefully score a few more, which should make a big difference.”

Hong Kong fixtures

Blitzboks vs Ireland (Friday 9.04am)

vs New Zealand (Saturday 5.04am)

vs Kenya (Saturday 9.25am).

@Leighton_K

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