South Africa opened HSBC Sevens Series with a bang last weekend in Dubai. This week, we are in their home ground in Cape Town. The Cape Town Sevens will be from December 9-10, at the Cape Town Stadium. 16 teams will compete in a ‘triple threat for the Blitzboks’ title aspirations.
The #CapeTown7s Parking, food, fancy dress, entertainment, what you can’t bring in…
— 7s in South Africa (@BlitzBokke) December 7, 2017
Uganda will again be the invitational side and will to continue their progress from Dubai. England are the defending champions and they, together with Fiji and New Zealand will threat the Blitzboks.
New stars were unearthed last weekend, with more to shine this week. Meanwhile, Samoa and New Zealand seem to be getting their groove back. Can they build on that?
If you missed out last weekend’s season premiere, make sure you catch the second episode from Cape Town. Here is your Lowdown
Triple Threat For Blitzboks
The Blitzboks will be out for a win at their home tourney. You can win all over the world but if you don’t at home, you haven’t won at all. This week three teams will be their biggest threat with Samoa, the underdogs.
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) December 7, 2017
Fiji was the only team to have kept the Boks to minimum points last weekend. The wounded Fijians will be out to spoil their party at home. England knows how to handle South Africa as they beat them there last season.
On the other hand, the Kiwis are on a roll with Clark Laidlaw at the helm. If they can build on that we have a cracking tournament.
Competition is getting stronger, not one team can rest on their laurels. United States, who were disappointing last weekend,will com out guns blazing, Samoa will threaten more with Uganda and Kenya looking to make a statement. The bogey side will be Scotland, don’t underestimate them against the Aussies.
HSBC Cape Town Sevens: The LOWDOWN
Pool A – South Africa, Kenya, France, Russia
South Africa have retained their same squad from Dubai. They have the upper hand, mentally and physically to deliver their second win. Seabelo Senatla, Werner Kok and Kwagga Smith will be their key players.
The depth they have on their bench is probably their biggest weapon with speed to burn. They will cruise through their pool. France and Kenya will battle for second spot.
Tavite Veredamu has brought in that Fijian element to the French game. It is up to players like Stephen Parez together with Alexandre Lagarde and Bastian Berenguel to gel with him.
Kenya needs consistency to be competitive in each game. On the other hand, Russia needs more game breakers than Vladimir Ostronshko. Ilya Babaev and the rest of the squad need to step up.
Pool B – New Zealand, Australia, Spain, USA
The Battle of the Tasman in Pool B which will be one to watch. New Zealand had an outstanding outing in Dubai. Andrew Kneewstub continues to grow at his play making role with Vilimoni Koroi. The two youngsters will key for them all season long. Discipline and missed tackles needs work this week.
All Blacks Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw has named his 12 players for Cape Town leg of the HSBC Sevens Series.
— NZ7s (@nz7s) December 7, 2017
Australia needs to rise up as they have been given a reality check last weekend. Winning invitational tournaments doesn’t get you anywhere if you don’t perform to standard against the big boys. Individually they are shining but need to play as a unit the whole duration of the game.
— AU 7s (@Aussie7s) December 7, 2017
United States will be out to prove a point and they can create upsets. It will be interesting how this pool will play out. Spain needs more variation in their attack. However, credit to Pablo Feijoo, his men were very good defensively last weekend.
— Americas Rugby News (@americasrugby) December 7, 2017
Pool C – England, Scotland, Argentina, Uganda
Defending champs England could go back-to-back here in Cape Town. They looked good last week, narrowly losing to the Kiwis in the semis. Their new haircut has given them new purpose as they look like soldiers on the field with a mission.
Scotland looked like a champion side last weekend coming from behind to win games, However, they need to be consistent and put games away early.
Argentina need a win as they continue to struggle with consistency. Uganda won many hearts last weekend, especially Solomon Okia. Can he continue his try scoring spree in Cape Town?
Pool D – Fiji, Samoa, Wales, Canada
Missed tackles cost the Fijians dearly in Dubai especially against South Africa in the semis. They have injury clouds in the squad and could be fielding a squad of nine. However, the Fiji boys thrive when not expected. Eroni Sau is back from suspension and will be one to watch.
Samoa was back to their old self last weekend. Amada Motuga and Darren Kellett Moore were outstanding with Joe Perez. The senior players in the squad are finally gelling with the new boys.
Canada and Wales need to put in a quality 14 minute game, if they want to progress. It is annoying when you know the players capabilities, yet they are not performing.
In Dubai, Tomi Lewis shone for Wales with Pat Kay for Canada. Give them good ball to work with to compete with the island boys, and see what happens. What could be worse….it’s snowing back home, so they should be glad to be a part of the World Series, and in the sun of Cape Town.
— Rugby Canada (@RugbyCanada) December 6, 2017
Can the English Halt the Blitzbok?
On paper and on the field they can as they have literally the same squads from last season. The English forwards, once they have the upper hand, can dismantle the Boks game.
New Zealand and Fiji, on their day can be ruthless and find ways to win. It will be a triple threat for Blitzboks. However, triple underdog status can be given to Australia, Samoa and Scotland. They could surprise us all.
Sit back, relax, put your feet up and enjoy episode two of the HSBC Sevens Series. It will be mesmerizing, breathtaking and full of fun.
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