Preview: Vancouver Sevens
WORLD SERIES ROUND SIX: New Zealand and South Africa will continue their ding-dong battle at the top of the standings at BC Place Stadium on Saturday and Sunday.
South Africa arrive in Vancouver in confident mood, following their stunning extra-time Final victory over Fiji in Los Angeles last weekend.
The BlitzBoks line up in Pool A alongside England, Argentina and the invitational team Japan.
Pool B sees reigning Olympic Champions Fiji drawn with France, hosts Canada and Wales – who are currently occupying the relegation position and will be looking to pick up more points in the second half of the series.
Current Series leaders New Zealand are drawn in Pool C and will face Ireland, Span and Kenya, while Pool D consists of Australia, the United States, Samoa and Scotland.
New Zealand and South Africa have won two tournaments each – the Kiwis taking out the Cape Town and Hamilton titles, while the BlitzBoks won in Dubai and Los Angeles.
BlitzBok veteran Cecil Afrika, the team’s all-time leading points’ scorer, said they need to “take ownership” of what happens on the field if they are to retain their Vancouver title – won with a superb showing last year.
(Continue reading below …)
“It is important to analyse where we made mistakes and why and how to solve them,” Afrika said.
“By analysing our games, one also gets a better understanding of what plays work best and in which positions on the field, so it is an important aspect of our preparation for the weekend.
“We did not have a perfect match in LA, so this review probed the reasons.
“There were some honest and brutal exchanges, especially on the defensive effort, but we were all prepared to own up and that made it a very productive session.”
Afrika missed nine of the 10 tournaments in 2019 due to injury – including the trip to Vancouver – and wants nothing more to leave Canada knowing that nothing was left behind on the field.
“Last week is gone, this tournament is one that provides us with so many opportunities and that is what we must embrace and exploit,” said Afrika.
“It starts with the off-the-field stuff first – being on time for example – and if that is done well, the on-field stuff will fall in place too.”
(Kick-off time is local – GMT minus eight hours)
Saturday, March 7
United States v Samoa – 09.00
Australia v Scotland – 09.22
England v Argentina – 09.44
South Africa v Japan – 10.06
Ireland v Spain – 10.31
New Zealand v Kenya – 10.53
France v Canada – 11.15
Fiji v Wales – 11.37
United States v Scotland
Australia v Samoa – 12.34
England v Japan – 12.56
South Africa v Argentina – 13.18
Ireland v Kenya – 13.43
New Zealand v Spain – 14.05
France v Wales – 14.27
Fiji v Canada – 14.49
Samoa v Scotland – 15.24
Australia v United States – 15.46
Argentina v Japan – 16.08
South Africa v England – 16.30
Spain v Kenya – 17.07
New Zealand v Ireland – 17.35
Canada v Wales – 18.05
Fiji v France – 18.33