Time for talking is over for Blitzboks
The Sevens team have to improve their defence if they want to hang on to their title
The Blitzboks are making all the right noises as they prepare for round four of the 2018/19 HSBC World Sevens Series in Sydney‚ but the time for talking is over.
Languishing 13 points behind series leaders Fiji and the US on the standings‚ the defence of their title is slipping away even at this early stage of the competition.
Springbok Sevens captain Philip Snyman knows how his team responds when backed into a corner‚ and he likes what he is seeing in response to their fourth-place finish in Hamilton, New Zealand, last weekend.
Due to the lofty standards set by the current World Series champions‚ even a fourth place is frowned upon and Snyman said the players want to get back to the top of the podium.
“Each and every player in the team had a look at themselves and realised that it was not our best effort last weekend‚ especially on defence‚” Snyman said. “Personally‚ I thought it was one of our worst performances in a while.”
Statistics back up what Snyman said on the defensive problems in Hamilton‚ with SA in the bottom third for completed tackles with a mere 62% successful hits.
Snyman said they will rebound. “We are a young team and lessons were learned. We had a look at the videos of our matches and it was not pretty at times. We had a solid defence session earlier on Wednesday and it felt good‚ so clearly the guys adapted from what we missed out on last weekend.”
Assistant coach Renfred Dazel said the time for excuses is over.
“We knew and realised losing the likes of Dylan [Sage]‚ Kwagga [Smith]‚ Seabelo [Senatla] and Ruhan [Nel] would have an impact‚ but that is not an excuse for our performances so far this series‚” said Dazel.
“We needed to do better in certain areas and worked hard to improve‚ something I feel we are doing.
“Putting teams away in the last two‚ three minutes is something we will have to do better‚ no doubt. The previous squad did that and we need to improve on that.
“There is progress‚ as the players are improving and picking up more experience and confidence. Guys such as Dewald [Human] and Zain [Davids] are now starting for the first time and Stedman [Gans] and Justin [Geduld] are back from injury‚ so we are getting better by the minute.”