Coming off a convincing tournament win in Dubai last week may have boosted the self-belief that the Blitzboks are doing something correctly, but Springbok Sevens coach, Sandile Ngcobo, believes the reset button is equally important with the HSBC Cape Town Sevens only a day away.
The coach secured a first tournament win in only his second outing in his new role with the Springbok Sevens, but they now face another tough challenge - to win the HSBC Cape Town Sevens where the Blitzboks only secured the trophy in 2015 in the first year the tournament was hosted in the Mother City.
For Ngcobo there’s no doubt that they need to start with a fresh approach as they prepare for their opening match on Friday.
"The change from a two-day tournament to three days means you have to adapt slightly in your approach, especially from a strength and conditioning perspective. The workload needs to be adjusted to make sure players are fresh and because we have longer match days and the time between matches differs, meaning the mental aspect is also a bit different," said Ngcobo.
"We’re playing Canada on day one who are a young team full of energy. They always rock up against us. I think we last played them at the Commonwealth Games and it was a tough game. That’s exactly the type of game we want. We need our guys to work hard and get into the tournament.”
The match starts at 20h03, which means the Blitzboks will have a slow start to the day.
"We’ll start with a few activations early in the day to make sure the bodies are awake and then go into the traditional jersey presentation where we just remind ourselves what the jersey and badge means to the system. Once that is done, we’ll start focusing on the game itself. Then Canada will be on our mind," said Ngcobo.
The usual distractions that come with a home tournament will again be a factor, but the coach says that is something the squad wants to manage better.
"As a group we want to stay focused on rugby for as long as possible, but the players have families and friends in the stands and there are longer periods between games, so it’s a challenge to stay in that zone. But we are here to win a tournament, so once we are in battle mode, we’ll stay in that moment for as long as possible."
South Africa heads Pool A, with France, Fiji and Canada.
Pool B consists of Ireland, Samoa, Uruguay and Japan, and Pool C will see New Zealand, Argentina, Kenya and Spain face off, while in Pool D there will be clashes between USA, Australia, Great Britain and Uganda.
The tournament kicks off at 12h00 with Argentina and Kenya in action.