The Blitzboks still hold a tenuous eight-point lead at the top of the 2017-18 HSBC World Sevens Series standings and if they can emerge from this weekend’s leg in Hong Kong still leading‚ it would be a case of mission accomplished.
The most inexperienced South African team since the early years of the World Series will look to preserve their advantage over Fiji‚ after nine first-choice players were overlooked due to Gold Coast Commonwealth Games commitments next week.
The South African squad in Hong Kong would do well by qualifying for the quarterfinals. Anything better would be a bonus. Facing England‚ Scotland and South Korea in pool C, the Blitzboks need to beat Korea and one of the two British teams to reach the last eight.
Hong Kong is the jewel of the regular season and is the one tournament on circuit that SA have yet to win.
But as much as coach Neil Powell and his players want a Hong Kong victory‚ putting on a successful Commonwealth Games defence took priority.
There are five World Series debutants for Hong Kong. Academy coach Marius Schoeman will lead the team while Powell is in charge of the Commonwealth Games squad.
Nine regulars are in Stellenbosch preparing for the Rugby Sevens at the Commonwealth Games, which has created opportunities for academy players to impress.
Playmaker and flyhalf Selvyn Davids said the focus should be on the squad in Hong Kong.
"You just go out and play. The coaches select you for a reason‚ so it is important to reinforce their faith in you," he said.
Another senior in the squad, Zain Davids, said the most important aspect when facing South Korea would be to play as they had trained.
"We need to trust our processes‚ trust each other and make sure we play for one another," said Davids.
"If we do that‚ things will go well."