Blitzboks skipper Philip Snyman was one of 16 captains lined up on the Cape Town Stadium’s roof for a photo shoot on Tuesday, and on Sunday he and his team hope to raise it with another home World Series victory.
The Blitzboks, current series champions and hot favourites on home soil, will go into this weekend’s second leg of the 2017-18 HSBC World Series high on confidence and form after winning in Dubai last weekend.
New Zealand showed a return to form with their first final appearance since the 2015-16 season in Dubai last week, while Fiji and England also caught the eye. Those three teams will be better after removing the off-season rust in the desert heat while Australia, Kenya and Scotland will also be dangerous teams.
With the tournament sold out months ago, the Blitzboks can expect huge support from the 110,000 crowd.
As defending champions and winners in Dubai, SA come into the tournament under pressure to please their home crowd. But it is something they are embracing, not shying away from. They are drawn in Pool A alongside Kenya, Russia and France.
The Blitzboks have met Russia 18 times and won all 18 clashes, while in 48 meetings with France the home team have lost only six. Against Kenya, SA’s record is also impressive with 44 wins in 50 meetings against only five losses and a draw. One of those wins was a 48-5 hammering of the Kenyans in Dubai last week.
"It’s lekker to come to Cape Town as winners last week," try-scoring legend Seabelo Senatla said. "It will do us so much good coming on the back of a win, and it has set us up well for the season.
"We only get to play at home once a year so our goal is obviously to give the fans what they want – the trophy."
Snyman was equally de-lighted to be in his home city: "We have a tough pool in our home tournament against Kenya, Russia and France and it’s going to be physical, but I think we are going to be ready," he said. "To play in front of family and friends is really special for us and to play here in the Mother City, Cape Town, in front of a packed stadium is going to be something really special."
Reigning Cape Town Sevens champions England finished third in Dubai, but captain Tom Mitchell hopes to replicate their winning form from last year.
"It was a great moment for us last season winning in Cape Town. It was amazing beating SA in the final and a great moment for the guys, but it’s not playing on our minds too much…. We enjoyed ourselves last year and will be looking to do the same again."