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05 Dec 2007 11:35
South Africa will be looking to home-town favourite Kabamba Floors to fire up their Sevens team when the second leg of the world Sevens series is played in George this weekend.
Capped once for the XV-man Springboks, Floors has been a hit on the Sevens circuit and his teammates will be hoping he can again provide the magic that saw the hosts through to the final last year.
New Zealand, however, beat the Boks on that occasion, but with the added motivation of a first home triumph at stake, coach Paul Treu’s men may just go one better than a year ago.
But while there will be plenty of support for Treu’s men, there will also be the added pressure to perform on home soil.
Treu said he was hoping the pressure could be turned into a positive rather than it being a negative factor over the two days.
“There’s a lot of excitement in the squad about playing at home,” said Treu.
“There may be pressure on us, but I think the guys will be able to handle it and put up a good performance.”
Floors is a late inclusion in the team following the injury incurred by Mzwandile Stick in Dubai, while veteran Sevens star Marius Schoeman comes in for the suspended Jonathan Mokuena.
The South African team is a good blend of youth and experience, but they will certainly miss Stick and Mokuena.
In their absence, try-scoring machine Fabian Juries will carry plenty of responsibility to keep the hosts ahead of their opponents.
New Zealand, though, remain the firm favourites, especially after coming out on top in the opening tournament in Dubai last week, after beating Fiji 31-21. They knocked the South Africans out in the semifinals.
But anyone who writes off the islanders—Fiji and Samoa—do so at their own peril.
They’re the masters of the Sevens game, while England will also be looking to make an impression.
A win for South Africa would cap a remarkable year for the host nation, especially after the senior Boks won the World Cup in October.
Friday will see all the teams participating in a set of round-robin matches, while on Saturday the teams will go through to compete in various knock-out competitions.
The 16 competing teams on Friday and Saturday at Outeniqua Park are South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, England, France, Argentina, Canada, Fiji, Kenya, Samoa Scotland, Tunisia, Uganda, United States, Wales and Zimbabwe.—Sapa-AFP
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