Bl­itzbokke set to step it up in Welling­ton

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - WYNONA LOUW

The Bl­itzboks are only two tour­na­ments in and they have al­ready made two fi­nals, claim­ing the Dubai ti­tle and be­ing edged out by Eng­land in the fi­nal of the Cape Town event. Oh, and they are on top of the World Sev­ens Se­ries stand­ings. Talk about a good start, right?

Now Spring­boks Sev­ens skip­per Philip Sny­man,

wants to con­tinue that fine run in Welling­ton this week­end.

And with a solid com­bi­na­tion of new faces and ex­pe­ri­enced power and speed, the South Africans stand a good chance of win­ning their first Welling­ton ti­tle since 2002.

It’s go­ing to be a spe­cial one for the cap­tain, who last year de­buted as skip­per in New Zealand and took his team all the way to the fi­nal. Now, of course, he is keen to get them over that fi­nal hur­dle.

“It is hard to be­lieve it is that time of the year al­ready and that the Welling­ton tour­na­ment is about to kick-off,” Sny­man said.

“We don’t have Kyle (Brown) and Ce­cil Afrika here this time, due to injuries, and we have lost a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause of that. But I am pretty ex­cited about the new guys who came in and we are keen to give it an­other go to try and win the tour­na­ment. We trained well this week and will be ready, for the first match against Ja­pan to­mor­row.”

For­mer skip­per Brown, who stepped down late last year, picked up an in­jury dur­ing the Cape Town event, while Afrika sus­tained an in­jury dur­ing train­ing for the New Zealand spec­ta­cle.

And Sny­man’s ex­cite­ment about the “new guys” is to­tally jus­ti­fied – they have new re­cruit and Ju­nior Spring­boks star Zain Davids, who en­joyed a suc­cess­ful in­tro­duc­tion to the ab­bre­vi­ated game with the SA Sev­ens Acad­emy in Dubai last year, while Siviwe Soy­izwapi, who was of­fi­cial backup to the team last year, will also be look­ing to es­tab­lish him­self.

And, of course, Neil Pow­ell’s side also have the try mas­ter Se­abelo Se­natla back in their camp af­ter he re­cov­ered from a calf in­jury.

Jet-lag doesn’t seem to be a draw­back for the South Africans ei­ther.

“It is hard to change around 11 hours as it is night and day, but we had some good ses­sions,” said Sny­man.

“Our at­tack looked sharp on Tues­day and the de­fence ses­sion we had Wed­nes­day also had a good edge to it, so I am pretty pleased with the squad’s mind-sets at the mo­ment.”

The Bl­itzboks face Ja­pan, Aus­tralia and Fiji to­mor­row in a tough Pool B, but Sny­man is adamant that the team will em­brace those chal­lenges.

“Yes, that is a tough pool and we face three very good sides to­mor­row, but we are ready to take them on,” said Sny­man.

“We have to get past Ja­pan first, so we are putting a lot of fo­cus on that. We need to start well and build mo­men­tum to­wards day two. The foun­da­tion of our quest to win here will be laid on the first day and the first match, so we must start well.

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