England Sevens head coach Simon Amor admits that South Africa’s outstanding form this season is getting the best out of his side.
England trail the Series leaders by 23 points heading into the Series’ flagship event in Hong Kong this weekend, having come out on top in Vancouver last month when the two teams met in the final.
“They are a ruthless team to play against but it brings out the best in our players,” Amor told the World Rugby website.
“The team stands up to the challenge and you need to if you are to stand a chance of beating them. They are a side that punishes mistakes so you have to make sure you are on the top of your game. It’s always a brilliant game of chess when England take on South Africa.”
A major positive for England has been the form of Dan Norton. The veteran drew level with with Kenya’s Collins Injera with his 244th try in the win over South Africa in Vancouver, and has the all-time record in his sights.
“Dan’s got a great ability to beat players and he is playing with real confidence,” said Amor.
“He will be the first to admit that it takes hard work from other players on the team to help give him the opportunities, but once he has them he is finishing them off.
“Dan has also worked on his defence a lot this year and is improving year-on-year in his all-around game. Safe to say he is playing a big role in the team.”
England are grouped with Australia, Samoa and South Korea in Pool A for Hong Kong, offering up a series of different challenges for Amor and his side.
“Samoa are starting to move in the right direction and you can see what they are trying to do under Gordon Tietjens. They can prove to be a real handful so it’s always a match you have to prepare for fully,” he explained.
“South Korea will be a different kind of game purely as they are a bit of an unknown quantity as we don’t play them week in, week out. Australia have been doing great things under Andy Friend who has utilised some younger players in the first few rounds.
“They are bringing a bit more experience in for Hong Kong but once again it’s going to be a very competitive pool and we know we’ll have to play our best rugby to come out on top.”