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Powell rounds off preparations for Blitzboks’ Cape Town campaign

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By Lea van der Merwe

With the inaugural Cape Town Sevens tournament kicking off on Saturday morning, coach Neil Powell said the Blitzboks are taking each game as it comes.
Thursday saw the team going through the final stages of preparation before their first Pool B match against Zimbabwe. Their other opponents are Kenya and England.
Coach Neil Powell said each game presents its own set of challenges. ‘Every team is different, and we can’t underestimate any of them. We can’t rest players for the play-offs on the assumption that we’ll get there. If Seabelo Senatla has to play three or four games then that’s just one of those things.’
The inclusion of sevens rugby in the 2016 Rio Olympics has turned up the pressure, with many teams using the HSBC Sevens World Series to experiment with players and tactics. The Blitzboks are among the teams experimenting, having included a number of 15s players in their original squad, as well as in their final squad selected for this weekend’s tournament.
Powell also admits the intensity has certainly increased immensely in this tournament as a result of the upcoming Olympics. ‘A lot of emphasis has been placed on the competition this year because of this. Everyone is preparing for the Olympics, so I suspect more teams will be competing in finals this year.’
There are only two changes to the team for Dubai that won the Plate Final, these being Rosco Spekman and Dylan Sage.
They duo replace the injured Cecil Afrika and Werner Kok respectively. While these injuries are a blow to the team, Powell says they have been advantageous in affording other players more game time.
Captain Kyle Brown will earn his 50th cap for the team, but says that the only thing he plans to do in celebration is to ‘play a good game of rugby.’
Both days of the tournament are to be played in front of a sold-out crowd at the Cape Town stadium.

Blitzboks team for Cape Town Sevens
Chris Dry, Philip Snyman, Francois Hougaard, Kwagga Smith, Dylan Sage, Kyle Brown (c), Cheslin Kolbe, Ryno Benjamin, Justin Geduld, Rosco Speckman, Seabelo Senatla, Juan de Jongh.

Van der Merwe is an intern at Highbury Safika Media


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