Planet Rugby

Preview: Tokyo Sevens

21st March 2014 07:08

Share:

South Africa Tokyo Sevens lifting the trophy after beating New Zealand in the final

Defending champions: South Africa

South Africa head into this weekend's Tokyo Sevens just two points behind Sevens World Series leaders New Zealand and, having lost out to the men in black last time out in Wellington, Neil Powell's side will be aiming to reclaim the lead at the Prince Chichibu Stadium.

Pool A: New Zealand, Canada, Wales, Portugal

Pool B: South Africa, Argentina, Kenya, Japan

Pool C: Fiji, Samoa, France, USA

Pool D: England, Australia, Scotland, Spain

Defending the title they won 12 months ago in Japan would give them back the lead heading for Hong Kong, but the Boks are taking things 'a game at a time' and have no wish to become too caught up in the title race.

"The team are really looking forward to their title defence this weekend in Tokyo," said coach Powell.

"We will fall back on the guys that were here last year, and especially the management, considering I have never played or coached here before.

"We mustn't get too caught up on the table and the points because we will put too much pressure on ourselves. It is all about the process and if we do the things well on the field the outcomes will look after themselves."

Fiji and England head the chasing pack

South Africa have reached the last four Cup finals this Series and their mantra all season has been consistency.

While many think the season boils down to a two-horse race, Powell admits Fiji and England could still upset the apple cart with big performances in the last four rounds.

"Fiji is a great team and England are playing some good rugby at the moment," added Powell. "I think any of us could (still) win the Series. If we or New Zealand slip up in one of the tournaments the other sides will have a chance, so it is important to tick that consistency box where we want to reach at least the semi finals and hopefully we can do that here and next week in Hong Kong."

Forbes: Taking nothing for granted

Arriving in Tokyo New Zealand is the form team, having conceded no points in their last five matches in Wellington and only 12 (against Fiji in their opening pool match) in all en route to their home title.

But captain DJ Forbes, who led his side to a 21-0 win over South Africa, their first over them this season, agrees that the race for the title is not as clear cut as some may think.

"With the lead you might predict a two horse race but Fiji could on their day easily win four tournaments in a row. But to do that they need to win these two to get back on the horse," said Forbes.

"We are not taking anything for granted. South Africa are hot on our heels, but it was pleasing to win at home and get that monkey off our back after they beat us in a couple of finals, so coming into this tournament there won't be this mindset and if we meet them again hopefully we can put in another performance like that."

With thanks to the IRB

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Preview
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs Lions17:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs Tasman19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615