The Blitzboks have opted for a lighter workload as they prepare for the eighth leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series in Singapore this week.
In a season where they have had to do without several stalwarts who moved on to 15s‚ injuries have also plagued the side throughout a fractured 2018-2019 campaign.
Bruising forward Zain Davids is the latest casualty after it was confirmed on Tuesday he would miss the rest of the season. Davids injured his shoulder in training in Hong Kong last week and will undergo surgery on Wednesday.
It has been that kind of season. Philip Snyman‚ Cecil Afrika‚ Chris Dry and Muller du Plessis have all been injured at various stages while Kwagga Smith‚ Seabelo Senatla‚ Rosko Specman‚ Dylan Sage‚ Ruhan Nel and Tim Agaba are focusing on the longer version of the sport.
Defence of the title SA won the two previous seasons is no longer realistic for the Blitzboks‚ but finishing fourth overall and claiming an automatic Olympic qualification berth is.
They are currently fourth in the standings on 99 points, nine points ahead of England.
But five tournaments‚ played in Australasia‚ North America and Asia‚ via Africa‚ have taken their toll. The team will slow down in Singapore’s sweltering humidity this week.
“The guys have been at it from Hamilton at the end of January till now with stops in Sydney‚ Las Vegas‚ Vancouver and Hong Kong and short turnaround times in SA‚” said strength and conditioning coach Ghafoer Luckan.
“This week will be more about recovery and getting the players’ bodies ready for the weekend‚ rather than spending hours on the field. Our sessions will always conclude in the pool and the players are encouraged to stay as hydrated as possible.
“We decided on an indoor session and staying out of the heat‚ which turned out to be more technical as well.
“It is all about getting the guys ready for the weekend. The guys will also spend more time analysing the games from Hong Kong with the coaching staff.”
SA are drawn alongside Fiji‚ Scotland and Canada in Pool A of the Singapore Sevens‚ to be played in the National Stadium on April 13 and 14.
The Blitzboks beat all three opponents the last time they played them‚ but they will need a number of improvements if they want to repeat that.
They were the most penalised team in Hong Kong‚ conceding almost five penalties per match‚ and that will be among the issues addressed by management this week.