Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Powell’s Sevens stars out to fix Blitzboks’ poor World Cup record

South Africa are top seeds and will have to win just four matches to lift the Sevens World Cup trophy.

The Blitzboks are gunning for the biggest title in world Sevens rugby as they attempt to win the World Cup on home soil, with the competition kicking off at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday morning.

Just seven editions of the Sevens World Cup have taken place since 1993, with the Blitzboks only making the semifinals twice, while their best finish was a runner-up placing in the 1997 event in Hong Kong.

In the most recent edition, the 2018 World Cup in San Francisco, the top seeded Blitzboks were upset by fourth seeded England in the semifinals, but beat Fiji in the third/fourth placed playoff to secure the bronze medal.

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The Blitzboks are again top seeds, heading into the Cape Town event, thanks largely to their amazing 36-match winning run over late 2021 and early 2022 that saw them win six events in a row on the world series.

However since Fiji and New Zealand, who were absent for the whole of 2021 and start of 2022 world series due to the Covid pandemic, returned to the fray, the Blitzboks have suffered from extremely inconsistent form.

Their 2021-22 world series challenge, which looked to be in the bag after their stunning start saw them win their opening four events, ended up petering out as they didn’t make the semfinals over the next five, including not even making the quarterfinals in two of them.

Brilliant showing

However they offset those performances with a brilliant showing at the Commonwealth Games in England, where they powered through the tournament unbeaten, including thrashing Fiji in the final, to clinch the gold medal.

Depending on which Blitzbok team pitches up at this weekend’s event will play a big part in how far they progress.

If it is the team that started the world series on fire and triumphed at the Commonwealth, the Blitzboks will have a huge chance of claiming the World Cup on home soil.

But if it’s the team that fell away in the world series spectacularly they may not even reach the competition semifinals.

Four games to lift cup

In total the Blitzboks only need to win four games to lift the World Cup, with the tournament following the same format as was introduced in 2018, which is a knockout from the start.

Due to being the top seeds the Blitzboks are straight into the round of 16 where they will face either Germany or Chile on Friday evening.

Should they get through that they could face England, Ireland or Portugal in the quarterfinals on Saturday night.

If they manage to reach the semis their most likely opponents would be either Argentina or New Zealand, and if they make it to the final they could face tournament favourites Fiji.

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