Home Sport New Zealand Sevens attackers will put Blitzboks defence to the test

New Zealand Sevens attackers will put Blitzboks defence to the test

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It could be a tournament-defining start in the ‘group of death’ that also has Ireland and Great Britain waiting on the Springbok Sevens if they are to make it to another quarter-final.

South AFrica captain Selvyn Davids gets his pass away as he is challenged by Akuila Rokolisoa of New Zealand during day two of the 2023 HSBC Cape Town Sevens at Cape Town Stadium on 10 December 2023. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky, BackpagePix

The Blitzboks will put all their efforts into the first game of the Canada Sevens in Vancouver against New Zealand and not look any further than Friday’s game (11.52pm kick-off, SA time).

It could be a tournament-defining start in the ‘group of death’ that also has Ireland and Great Britain waiting on the Springbok Sevens if they are to make it to another quarter-final.

The Blitzboks are the most successful side in Canada with three titles, and with the All Black Sevens hot on their heels (they’ve won two), they can strike an early warning with a victory over their rivals.

The match will mark the start of the Vancouver tournament and should test captain Selvyn Davids and his men in all aspects of their game.

Chance for Blitzboks defence to step-up

While the New Zealanders are a physical side, they also specialise in game-breaking play, and it should be a good opportunity for the Blitzboks’ defence to front up.

The team, which employs a sound defensive system, has come under heavy scrutiny in the last couple of tournaments.

But it’s on attack where they haven’t really hit their straps.

Yes, coach Sandile Ngcobo’s squad has been hit with disruptive injuries, and personnel changes have hampered continuity at times. But in the fourth tournament of the season, they should be hitting their straps.

Ireland (11.05pm Saturday) will be the other tough opponents for the South Africans.

They are currently tied on the World Sevens Series points table with 42 each – with SA fourth and Ireland fifth – and the last time they met at the Cape Town tournament, the Irish spoiled the home team’s party in the pool stages.

The Blitzboks should know what to expect from them this time around, though, and they will have to match their physicality and top the elusiveness of the Irish to come out winners.

Great Britain, their second opponents (4.56am Saturday), currently occupy the bottom of the overall table, but they can still spring a surprise on any of the sides they face.

They are also one of the Blitzboks’ opponents later this year, when the sides will face off for the final spot in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

The rest of the rugby world’s eyes will also be focused on France’s star scrumhalf Antoine Dupont, who will be making his World Series debut in Pool B, where his team will face Australia, USA and Samoa.

@Leighton_K

IOL Sport

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