Hosts see chance to up­set new-look NZ

Bl­itzboks on fo­cus de­fence be­fore vi­tal clash

The Northern Advocate - - Sport -

South Africa’s Bl­itzboks say they are not look­ing ahead to the game with New Zealand, sched­uled for the end of to­day’s HSBC World Sevens Se­ries play in Cape Town, but it has been oc­cu­py­ing all the space in their me­dia.

With New Zealand hav­ing to re­shape its team as a re­sult of in­juries be­fore and dur­ing the open­ing Dubai tour­na­ment last week­end, the hosts sense a chance to im­prove on their sixth plac­ing.

South African speed­ster Siviwe Soy­izwape said, “It is im­por­tant that we do well against Zim­babwe and Samoa so that we can be con­fi­dent go­ing into the game against New Zealand. It does help that we played both teams in Dubai, so we have some idea on how they play.

“For us it will be a case of fo­cus­ing more on our­selves and get­ting that mo­men­tum that we need to take into the big games.”

Team­mate Werner Kok said the side needed to im­prove de­fen­sively.

“We have to get our sys­tem into place,” he said. “We saw it com­ing to­gether in the last two games of the [Dubai] tour­na­ment. The oneon-one tack­les were a lot bet­ter. There are some pos­i­tives that we can take out of those games.

“De­fence is cer­tainly some­thing we will be look­ing at closely. We made some poor de­ci­sions and con­ceded turnovers. We also made too many high tack­les that led to penal­ties and op­por­tu­ni­ties to the op­po­si­tion.

“We have to go in lower with our tack­les this week­end. Over­all, the de­fen­sive line needs to be bet­ter and we have to work harder to get the ball back,” Kok said.

Their tackle com­ple­tion rate in Dubai was only 64 per cent and they missed 55 tack­les dur­ing the week­end. On top of over­com­ing that area there was a need to be more clin­i­cal in their own at­tack.

“Pa­tience is a big work-on af­ter last week. There were a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties that we didn’t take in Dubai. We have to trans­late those chances into points,” he said.

Ce­cil Afrika won’t be play­ing for the side, as he has been suf­fer­ing a ham­string in­jury, and it is ex­pected to be the Hamilton and Syd­ney tour­na­ments in Jan­uary be­fore he makes his first ap­pear­ance for the side.

How­ever, he thinks South Africa will be a dif­fer­ent prospect at home over the week­end.

“Ob­vi­ously, we made a lot of er­rors, fun­da­men­tal er­rors, ba­sic stuff, but I think if we can rec­tify those mis­takes, we will be a force to be reck­oned with this week­end,” he said.

Rather than re­flect­ing on the dis­ap­point­ments of Dubai, Afrika said they should take some­thing out of the fact they cre­ated many scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties at the tour­na­ment.

“I think they would have been talk­ing about just cut­ting down those er­rors, get­ting their ba­sics right and build­ing a good foun­da­tion come their first game against Samoa to­day.

“Then we will just have to build from there. There were a cou­ple of op­por­tu­ni­ties where we could have scored last week­end and we need to take those op­por­tu­ni­ties this week­end and make use of them fully,” he said.

PHOTO / AP

The All Blacks Sevens have a tar­get on their backs head­ing into Cape Town.

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