Fresh Blitzboks banking on momentum in Los Angeles

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Neil Powell



Cape Town – A new
route to the USA, a change in format and a new venue for the fifth tournament
of the World Rugby Sevens Series mean an extra day of preparation for the
Blitzboks as they gear up for the LA Sevens at Dignity Health
Sports Park in Carson, Los Angeles. 

The team
travelled from Cape Town to Los Angeles via Newark, which eliminated 11 hours
of their average travel time to the USA, while the venue of the first to two
North American tournaments was moved from Nevada to the Californian coast.

Furthermore, the Las Vegas tournament was a three-day event, with Los Angeles
being played on Saturday and Sunday. 

This
will help the Blitzboks in their final preparation this week, confirmed
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell. 

“The
flight already made a huge difference for us,” said Powell.

“It is the first time we flew directly to the USA, normally we went via London
and had another transit before getting to Las Vegas, where the Friday start
meant a three-day turnaround.

“This time out, we cut out travel time and an extra flight, so will have more
than enough time to recover and prepare.” 

Powell
feels fairly settled with his squad and only made three changes to his squad
from the last tournament in Sydney, something that will assist in continuing
with the momentum gained in Australia. 

“Yes,
we did travel to Australasia with half a dozen changes from the Cape Town leg
and that had a bigger impact than expected in our performances in Hamilton. The
Sydney effort was much more to our standards and one we need to back up here in
the USA,” said Powell.  

Back in
Stellenbosch, Powell had to adjust his plans for the North American trip and
the fifth and sixth legs of the World Series after the news that the next two
tournaments, Hong Kong and Singapore, were rescheduled for October. 

“That
had an impact on our planning and the way we wanted to manage some players and
even management, said Powell.  

“The end goal of the season remains the Olympic Games in Japan in July and how
we arrive there best prepared, so we needed to change our plans when those two
tournaments were moved to October.

“We are still trying to find ways to counter that 10-week period that will now
be without matches and we are discussing various options.

”For the
here and now, the extra day in Los Angeles will give us more time to recover
and then prepare for what awaits us on Saturday.

“We have done some good work back home, but there is still work needed on
defence and on attack, where we can be sharper. We are striving for a perfect
performance, so will work hard this week,” added the Blitzboks coach.  

The
Blitzboks’ playing schedule (SA times) in Pool B:

Saturday 29 February

21:35 v
Kenya 

Sunday
1 March

00:53 v
Canada

05:05 v
Ireland

– SA Rugby media





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