Bl­itzboks must make a state­ment

They will want to im­press from the start, es­pe­cially in front of their ador­ing fans

Cape Argus - - SPORT - WYNONA LOUW @Wynon­aLouw

THE BL­ITZBOKS need to make a state­ment this week­end, and they need to do so in their very first game to­mor­row.

Those are the words of Branco du Preez.

The Bl­itzboks have been grouped in Pool A with New Zealand, Samoa and Zim­babwe for the Cape Town leg of the World Sevens Se­ries after their sixth-place fin­ish in Dubai.

They fell out of Cup con­tention against Eng­land in the quar­ters, be­fore beat­ing Scot­land 29-0 to book their fifth-place play-off against Fiji. It was a game the Bl­itzboks lost in an ex­tra-time thriller.

While Du Preez said they have to put what hap­pened in Dubai be­hind them, he raised a num­ber of things they need to do dif­fer­ently at Cape Town Sta­dium.

“We were not at our best, but that is in the past now. This week­end in Cape Town is all that mat­ters. We are ex­pect­ing good sup­port and we hope to give the Bl­itzboks sup­port­ers some­thing to cheer about,” he said.

The Bl­itzboks will meet Dubai cham­pi­ons New Zealand in their last Pool game to­mor­row, and while Du Preez said they won’t un­der­es­ti­mate Zim­babwe and Samoa, he high­lighted the im­por­tance of de­fence.

“They are play­ing a very ba­sic game plan and limit their mis­takes. They are also very pa­tient on at­tack and only strike when they see the de­fence is stretch­ing.

“So we need to make sure we make dom­i­nant tack­les against them in or­der to throw them off their rhythm on at­tack.

“We re­spect all teams and will not look past our first two op­po­nents,” said Du Preez.

“We want to make a state­ment this week­end and that will start in the first game on Satur­day.”

Werner Kok agreed with Du Preez, and also said that they won’t be wear­ing the favourites tag after what hap­pened in the open­ing tour­na­ment.

“This will be a huge week­end for us. In a way, we are not the favourites, al­though the crowd will ex­pect us to do well. The likes of New Zealand, Aus­tralia, USA and Eng­land will be favourites after Dubai.”

Kok feels a strong de­fen­sive ef­fort from his side could tip the scales in their favour.

“We need to de­fend bet­ter. We slipped off too many tack­les in Dubai.”

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