WORLD SEVENS SERIES
Blitzboks are out to have fun in Paris finale
Blitzboks skipper Philip Snyman has urged his players to break the shackles and have fun in the World Sevens Series finale in Paris this weekend.
It is the 10th and final round of a season the Fijians have dominated, although they are not yet in the clear.
The Blitzboks could still retain the title they won 12 months ago but it would require an uncharacteristic implosion by log leaders Fiji.
The Pacific islanders hold a seven-point lead over the Blitzboks at the top of the standings and would have to be eliminated in the quarterfinals for the defending champions to have any chance.
So Snyman has decided that focus should be elsewhere, as his team does not have control of its own destiny.
"I just want the guys to go out and express themselves and play with a smile‚" said Snyman. "I have seen in the past‚ when we do that, we are playing well.
"How Fiji do in this tournament is out of our hands‚ but we can determine our own performances. We have played in a number of finals this season‚ but only won in Dubai‚ so we owe it to ourselves to finish strong here in Paris and try and win another tournament," Snyman said.
That has been the main difference between Fiji and SA this season. The Olympic champions have won five finals‚ including the last four consecutively, while the Blitzboks have lost three of the four finals they have been in.
For all their consistency throughout the season‚ with nine semifinal appearances‚ the Blitzboks have lacked Fiji’s cutting edge. In many ways it would be a travesty if the side that has won 60% of the tournaments this season were not to claim the World Series title.
As injuries and juggling selections have hampered the Blitzboks‚ their ability to remain consistently in the running for titles has been impressive.
Youngsters such as Stedman Gans‚ Dewald Human and Mfundo Ndhlovu are the next generation of players to emerge and could all boost their World Cup prospects this weekend.
"Every time I get an opportunity‚ I feel that my confidence is there‚" Gans said.
The Blitzboks play Canada‚ Russia and Scotland in pool B on Saturday.