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Blitzboks need to get the balance right

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“When we were good on attack, our defence lacked, and vice versa - it’s something we need to improve on”

TIME TO STEP UP: South Africa Sevens coach Neil Powell (right) says that his team have to improve their all-round game, and do it quickly. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky / BackpagePix

Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell wants his side to hit the right balance when it comes to attack and defence in Las Vegas next weekend.

The Blitzboks will look to bounce back in Nevada after one of their worst starts to the World Sevens Series in a long time.

Their Cape Town finish – where they ended third – has been their best result in the 2018/19 season so far. In Dubai they placed sixth, in Hamilton fourth and Sydney fifth.

And now Powell – who’s confident the “tries will come” – wants his charges to bump up their defence.

“When we were good on attack, our defence lacked, and vice versa – it’s something we need to improve on,” said Powell.

“This is especially true for our defence, where we are not keeping to our normal standards. We have a couple of exciting ball-runners here, so I am pretty sure the tries will come. It is keeping the opponents from scoring that will be the challenge.”

The Blitzboks will field a relatively young team in the USA, where they’ll meet Japan, Chile and England in Pool D on Day One.

Four players will take to the pitch at Sam Boyd Stadium for the first time, and Powell is looking forward to seeing the energy the new guys will bring, while he also reckons the extra day – due to an earlier arrival – will help the team in fine-tuning their preparations.

“The new guys have now done the long-haul trip and know what it feels like. They are still bringing good energy and I am keenly awaiting their performances,” said Powell.

“We had a short turn-around from Sydney, which means that time to prepare for this tournament was not ideal,” said Powell.

“The extra day will suit us, as we will have more than enough time to adapt to the time difference and the long travel, and it gives us another session to iron out the small issues that plagued our play in the previous two tournaments.”