Cape Times


- MIKE GREENAWAY Blitzboks’ Pool Schedule (SA Times)

INTERIM Blitzbok coach Philip Snyman is anything but intimidate­d as he takes the struggling team to the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend for the most hotly contested tournament on the world circuit.

The Blitzboks limped to an 11th-place finish in the previous tournament in Los Angeles, while South Africa have never won the Hong Kong title in 24 years of trying.

“I am confident that we will do well,” Snyman said yesterday.

“We trained well back home, and the two sessions we had here in Hong Kong went smoothly.

“The main thing I wanted to establish was clarity in roles, and we have achieved that.

“You can’t dispute the talent in our squad – it was a matter of making sure every player has a clear picture of what is expected of him in the team.”

The fact that they need a strong start was not neglected in the lead-up to the tournament, especially as Ireland await in their opening match.

The Irish blanked the Blitzboks 17-0 in Los Angeles, mainly by dominating the restarts and breakdowns and by managing to keep the ball away from the dangerous South African runners.

They are second on the log thanks to consistent performanc­es in the previous five tournament­s.

Snyman said consistenc­y was another aspect they addressed.

He had the benefit of selecting Christie Grobbelaar and Quewin Nortjé, fit again after picking up injuries in Dubai and Perth respective­ly, and both players will add considerab­ly to the Blitzboks’ effort.

Grobbelaar, in his 19th tournament, will bring pace to the forward pack, and Nortjé’s tryscoring ability since his debut was a highlight of the squad this season.

Also back after missing the North American trip are Ronald Brown and Dewald Human, and adding their guile to the mix, it is clear why Snyman is confident.

“It is certainly a matter of belief and trust,” concluded the Blitzbok coach.

“Physically, we are as well-prepared as we can be, and if the guys arrive mentally strong as well, we will have a good tournament.”

Today – 5.39am: Ireland, 8.23am: Spain Tomorrow – 4.16am: Samoa

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