National Sevens coach Paul Treu gave this assurance on the eve of the fourth tournament in the 2008/09 IRB Sevens World Series that starts in San Diego on Saturday and where the Boks seem destined to meet their Wellington victors, Kenya, in the quarter-finals on Sunday.
“Gio Aplon and Philip Snyman are both fit after their injuries sustained in Wellington last weekend,” he said, adding the few players who had colds this week will also be fit.
And newcomer Lionel Mapoe, who replaces captain Mzwandile Stick, has slotted in well, Treu added saying he was confident about success.
“Losing Stick was a tremendous setback,” he admitted from San Diego on Thursday.
“His four years experience and his class are not easily replaced.
“But we have to go forward with the guys that are left and they are good. They are now forced to think and sum up situations for themselves and if they stick to our structures we’ll do well,” Treu added.
His main concern in the Wellington tournament, where the Boks won the Plate after they were first shocked by Kenya (22-17) after a 17-5 halftime lead and then eliminated from the Cup competition by New Zealand (7-0), was that they ‘did not finish the job” when in control.
Treu admits the speed was lacking after Aplon’s injury – he had a stiff neck and was rested more as a precaution – but points out that defence is really the Springboks’ greatest strength.
“We again had the best record for the number of tackles in Wellington,” he says.
“Our problem – and that also goes for attack – is we slip up at the crucial moments when it really hurts.”
South Africa play their first match in San Diego against giant-killers United States, who beat Fiji in the first round last weekend and made the quarter-finals of that tournament where they lost to Argentina.
The Boks are next up against Canada and finish their first day against Australia.
What initially looked like an easy pool when the draw was first made, is now another trio of tough hurdles following the way in which the so-called lesser sides upset some of the top seeds.
South Africa are nevertheless expected to finish on top of Pool A, and their most likely opponents in the quarters will be Kenya who must be oozing with confidence after their Wellington win over the Boks.
* The Springboks, after their wins in the first two tournaments in Dubai and George, lead the overall standings with 48 points – four ahead of New Zealand and England who are tied on 44. -Tweet