Fives high: Rosko Specman, centre, and Kwagga Smith, left, celebrate with their Blitzboks teammates after a training session ahead of this weekend’s tournament in Cape Town. Picture: ASHLEY VLOTMAN/GALLO IMAGES
Fives high: Rosko Specman, centre, and Kwagga Smith, left, celebrate with their Blitzboks teammates after a training session ahead of this weekend’s tournament in Cape Town. Picture: ASHLEY VLOTMAN/GALLO IMAGES

Blitzboks coach Neil Powell has picked the same 12 players that won in Dubai last week for this weekend’s second leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series in Cape Town.

It was an easy decision considering there were no injuries‚ but he has changed the 13th man‚ the standby reserve.

In comes Siviwe Soyizwapi to replace Marco Labuschagne.

"All the players would love to play in their only home tournament on the circuit‚ so the result in Dubai made it easy for me to pick the team‚" said Powell.

"Everyone returned fit from that tournament and will have the added motivation of playing in front of a very supportive home crowd.

"The only change to our squad is the official reserve — we have included Siviwe Soyizwapi in the place of Marco Labuschagne, which was part of our planning.

" Siviwe Soyizwapi travelled to Dubai as captain of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy squad‚ which gave him the opportunity to get some playing time. He performed very well there and will slot in easily should one of our players pick up an injury that rules him out of the tournament."

Defending Cape Town champions England‚ who beat SA 19-17 in last year’s the 2016 final‚ were third in Dubai.

It was a result that left coach Simon Amor satisfied for a first outing of the season‚ which ended in semifinal defeat against New Zealand.

"As a first tournament for us this season I’m really proud of the continuous effort and the attitude the boys displayed in every single game‚" he said.

"We didn’t quite get our decision making right in terms of our attack – particularly in the New Zealand game where we had some chances but didn’t quite take those opportunities — but those are the margins at the top level now.

"If we can learn from that and keep on growing then we’ll be in a good place to really kick on for the rest of the season."

Powell and the Blitzboks have displayed an air of calm in throughout the much-hyped build-up to their home event‚ but there is no doubt they are under pressure to perform as the hosts and also the defending series champions.

"We needed to fine-tune a couple of things that we did not execute well in Dubai‚" said Powell. "This we did that and still have two training sessions left this week‚ so we have to ensure the players are mentally ready for the big event."

SA will play Russia‚ France and Kenya in Pool A of the rugby competition on Saturday. TimesLIVE

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