The Blitzboks will be desperate to return to winning ways after a disappointing sixth-placed finish at the Dubai Sevens, but the Blitzboks’ bounce-back has become a much more difficult mission with the news that they’ve been drawn in the same pool as New Zealand for the Cape Town Sevens.
While Muller du Plessis finished as the leading try-scorer in Dubai, his seven tries were undone by South Africa’s porous 64% tackle-rate, no doubt top of Neil Powell’s snag-list for this week.
The second stop on the 2018/2019 World Rugby Sevens Series marks the fourth occasion of Cape Town Stadium hosting a leg, with South Africa clinching the Cup in 2015, reaching the final in 2016 and settling for the Plate last year, en route to the 2017/2018 Series title.
But where last year’s anti-climax at home followed a season-opening Cup victory in Dubai, the Blitzboks returned from the desert on Sunday with a deep thirst for some shiny crockery. A pool-stage loss against Argentina in Dubai, followed by a reverse against England in the quarter-finals and then an extra-time defeat against Fiji in the playoffs, consigned South Africa to sixth place.
Defending World Rugby Sevens Series champions, the Blitzboks must now rally to face the reigning Rugby World Cup Sevens and Cape Town Sevens champions in the last of 24 matches at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (kickoff at 19h56, limited tickets available).
Earlier in the day, the hosts will take on Samoa and Zimbabwe, while the other highly anticipated clashes on Saturday see England face Fiji, the USA take on Argentina and Scotland square up against Wales.
Cape Town Sevens Pool groupings:
A: New Zealand, Samoa, South Africa, Zimbabwe
B: USA, Argentina, Spain, Japan
C: England, Fiji, France, Kenya
D: Australia, Scotland, Canada, Wales
— Staff Writer