Johannesburg - The Blitzboks have every reason to be high on confidence when they defend their crown at the Malaga Sevens this weekend.
The three-day tournament at Estadio Ciudad de Malaga will mark the first time Spain plays host to the World Sevens Series. Next up, the action will continue in Seville.
The Springbok Sevens side claimed back-to-back victories in the first two rounds of the Series in Dubai in late 2021. Prior to that, they won the shortened Series in Canada, going through the Vancouver and Edmonton legs undefeated.
Core Series teams from New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa are unable to travel to Spain, so invitational teams Germany and Jamaica men, and Belgium and Poland women will compete.
While not having Sevens giants Fiji and New Zealand at this weekend’s event will certainly take a bit of shine away from the tournament, the Blitzboks will no doubt welcome the competition that will compete given how packed this year’s Sevens Calendar is.
Coach Neil Powell said he is happy with the team’s preparation building up to the event.
“We always do the hard yards at home and then just tweak whatever is needed after arriving at tournaments,” said Powell.
“Nothing has changed in that regard, and we have used our time here in Malaga to make sure the legs are stretched, and everyone is on the same page.
“Our aim remains the same – to be as successful in this tournament as possible. We always reset to zero, but I will start with almost the same team as the one in Dubai.”
Powell also expressed his delight with having some seasoned campaigners back in the mix.
“Having said that, the big difference between the Dubai team and this one is the fact that both Justin Geduld and Dewald Human are here as flyhalves and did not play in Dubai, where Selvyn Davids did an admirable job as stand-in flyhalf. Justin will play some matches at centre, including the opening match against Scotland.
“I am please both are back in the squad, but also keen to see the three other players who were not in Dubai. Sako Makata, Mfundo Ndhlovu and Darren Adonis are all really good players, so I am happy to have them fit and keen to see them perform.”
Speaking about the Malaga tournament, Siviwe Soyizwapi said: “It’s great to play in a new venue to mix it up a bit. Malaga is a great city by the beachfront to be in. We are here to do our job and execute to our best ability and we are really excited to get started again.”
Fiji’s men's and women's teams were unable to travel to Malaga and have not been replaced, meaning opponents in their respective group matches will receive three match points for a “bye” and a score of 0-0 will be recorded for those games.
Pools for Malaga
Pool A: South Africa, Scotland, (Fiji), England
Pool B: Australia, Ireland, Japan, Germany
Pool C: Argentina, USA, Spain, Jamaica
Pool D: France, Kenya, Canada, Wales
Blitzboks Fixtures for Day 1 and 2
Friday: Scotland, 14:12
Saturday: England, 14:17