Dazel arrives to boost Bok sevens

The arrival of Renfred Dazel in London on Thursday gave the Springboks a timely boost before a tournament that could see them clinch the IRB Sevens World series for the first time.


Dazel, who had passport problems, did not leave with the side and Paul Delport was selected in his place to accompany the team to London for the penultimate tournament of the 2008/09 series. But the problems have been sorted out and the playmaker is back with the Boks.


“It would be great if we can get Dazel in London for the tournament,” Springbok coach Paul Treu said just before the team’s departure.


“Just think, if we could have a starting line-up of Dazel, (Mzwandile) Stick, (Robert) Ebersohn and (Rayno) Benjamin.”


His wish has come true and with the playmakers in Dazel and Stick, who both have lots of pace and the power of Ebersohn in midfield to combine with the speed of Benjamin, the 13 points needed to clinch the 2008/09 series could come in this tournament.


England are 28 points behind South Africa. Reaching a semifinal and a quarter-final in London and Edinburtg over the next two weekends – even if they lose those – will see the Boks crowned as the new champions. Treu is adamant the Boks are there to win the tournaments and not only to collect the 13 points for the Series title.


“We need to go out there and make sure we don’t stuff it up. We’ve seen funny things happen in the past and we need to ensure we don’t become complacent,” said Treu.


“We have to be careful not to repeat mistakes made in the past, not only by us, but also from other teams in similar positions. We want to win it by playing consistently. New Zealand set the standard in the last 10 years and we want to change that.”


The Boks have to kick on from where they left off in the first week of April when they won the Adelaide tournament.


They simply cannot afford any rustiness, despite the sis-week-lay-off since their last tournament, in Adelaide on April 5.


They start off on Saturday against World Champions Wales, who are back at full strength with six World Cup stars back in action.


At their best, the Boks should win, but there is just that little uncertainty after seven weeks without quality opponents. They also have to play Germany and Australia, with the latter another danger on the Boks’ road to the play-offs.


To avoid playing England, the second-placed side on the overall standings and favourites to win Pool B despite Samoa’s presence, in the quarter-final, the Boks simply have to win their pool.


France on their day could also upset England and Samoa, with Georgia not expected to be anything more than just a loosener.


Pool C featuring Fiji, Kenya, USA and Scotland looks by far the most competitive while New Zealand have Argentina, Portugal and Canada to contend with.


With the Kiwis having a very average year measured by their own standards, a surprise by any one of the three sides could see them stumble.


Sapa

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