South Africa may be faced with a near impossible task of overhauling New Zealand, but they have not given up hope of winning the IRB Sevens World Series.
Heading into this weekend’s Glasgow leg of the World Series the BlitzBokke are seven points behind Series leaders New Zealand.
Stalwart Frankie Horne, who will make a world record 58th consecutive tournament appearance in Glasgow on Saturday, admitted they shot themselves in the foot in Hong Kong at the end of March.
After reaching the Final in five consecutive tournaments – and winning two of them – South Africa were two points ahead of the Kiwis and on course to win only their second-ever World Series title.
However, they lost to England in the quarterfinals in Hong Kong, and with New Zealand beating the English in the Final, the BlitzBokke now find themselves with plenty of ground to make up.
Horne, speaking to rugby365 ahead of the team’s departure for Glasgow, said they do have a chance to rectify that.
“We are seven points behind [series leaders New Zealand], which may be just too much,” Horne said, adding that the consistency shown by both New Zealand and South African this season will make it tough to close the gap.
“However, it could be a blessing in disguise that New Zealand are in our pool, as one of us could crack the other [in the pool game],” the veteran forward said.
“This, Glasgow, tournament will determine where we finish and if we both survive the pool stages we [NZ and SA] could meet each other in the Final.”
He said their failure to advance to the Final in Hong Kong can be put down to the failure to use their opportunities and they also just didn’t click as a team.
“We have worked on a few things in the last few weeks and hopefully it will pay dividends in Glasgow,” Horne told rugby365.
“We simply have to go out and do out best.”
The 31-year-old, who will captain the BlitzBokke in the absence of injured skipper Kyle Brown, played down his world record – the only player with more than 50 consecutive tournament appearances.
“It has been with grace from above and plenty of stubbornness that the body keeps going,” he said, adding that he doesn’t really think about the record.
“It is not something you say to yourself: ‘I want to play 50 or 100 tournaments.’
“You simply world for the team tournament after tournament.”
He said that if his body can last the pace for the next two years he would like to be part of the BlitzBokke squad when rugby makes a return to the Olympics in Rio in 2016.
Pool A: New Zealand, South Africa, Samoa, Portugal
Pool B: England, Canada, France, Japan
Pool C: Fiji, Wales, Argentina, Kenya
Pool D: Australia, United States, Scotland, Spain