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Blitzboks look to set the record straight in Hong Kong
- Updated: March 13, 2015
It was last year this time that the South African Sevens team lost the initiative in the HSBC IRB World Sevens Series.
In 2014 the Blitzboks left for Hong Kong in the overall lead, but losing in the quarter-finals in China, London and Glasgow meant that New Zealand took the lead and with that the overall victory in the series. This year the Blitzboks are aiming to to set the record straight and not lose steam in the stretch for the finish line.
The Hong Kong Sevens in China will be played over three days from 27-29 March and this will be followed a week later by the Tokyo Sevens in Japan (4-5 April).
Coach Neil Powell will announce his squad of 12 for the tournaments in Hong Kong and Tokyo on Thursday. Apart from Steven Hunt, who underwent surgery to his left foot this week after suffering a fracture at training last week, Powell will have his full squad to his disposal.
Usually the group of 12 for a tournament consists of five forwards and seven backs. But the versatility of a few players in the group might open the possibility of choosing six forwards and six backs. Stephan Dippenaar can play in the front row if needed, while Ruhan Nel, pictured, can cover centre when needed.
For Hong Kong the Blitzboks are in Group C along with France, Argentina and Japan. South Africa won the Dubai and Port Elizabeth tournaments. Fiji has also won two tournaments – Gold Coast and Las Vegas – and New Zealand won its home tournament Wellington.
The top four teams at the end of the series will automatically qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Currently the top four are South Africa, New Zealand, Fiji and Australia.
Current standings: 1. South Africa 93 points; 2. New Zealand 88; 3. Fiji 86; 4. Australia 71; 5. England 68; 6. Argentina 54; 7. USA 51; 8. Scotland 47; 9. France 37; 10. Samoa 36.