Blitzboks aim to break Vancouver duck
The Blitzboks are hoping it’s third time lucky in Vancouver for the sixth leg of the 2017/18 HSBC World Series‚ which kicks off on Saturday.
The Blitzboks have reached the final in British Columbia for the past two seasons but twice fallen short. But despite going into this weekend’s tournament with an injury depleted squad‚ SA are determined to break their duck.
“Overall‚ we have done well in North America‚” said captain Philip Snyman.
“This week‚ we had to get our bodies moving again after the tough tournament in Las Vegas and to tweak one or two things that went astray over there. I think we managed that.”
The Blitzboks still lead the overall standings by 10 points over New Zealand‚ but haven’t won a tournament since round one in Dubai last December.
Snyman is confident that they will be as competitive as ever when they take on Russia‚ Scotland and New Zealand in Pool D on Saturday.
“If we play to our standards‚ we will be competitive‚” said Snyman. “We are looking for consistency again as that is part of the reason why we are still leading the series.
"There were five different winners in five tournaments and we would love nothing more than to change that.
"We are keen on winning again‚ Dubai was a long time ago.”
The change in personnel is something they need to adapt to‚ but Snyman does not see this as a negative: “The younger players who have come into the squad‚ have been training with us for a long time.
“We have lost seven experienced guys by now‚ so there is a bit of pressure on the remaining senior players to perform and provide a spark to the team.
"We also need to ensure the new players coming in are immediately put at ease and aware of what we want to achieve on the field.
“The flipside is that when someone new comes in‚ such as Marco Labuschagne‚ who joined us Wednesday‚ they bring some fresh energy into the squad and that is something that helps the senior players too.”