They finished second in 2016 and 2017 before winning their maiden Cup title at this event in 2019, before claiming gold for the second time in 2021, and come into the tournament as defending champions and, for good measure, at the top of the World Series standings.
However, these statistics were not on their minds as they arrived in Canada on Monday – it was the three successive defeats and the rash of penalties conceded in those matches that worried Blitzbok coach Neil Powell.
And for good reason, as Powell explained: “The number of penalties was a worry – we are more disciplined than that and have been for a while,” he said.
The high number of penalties conceded prompted a chat to the match officials to get clarity and left Powell with a clearer picture for the Canada event.
“We did chat to the officials to understand where we made those errors in order to rectify them,” said Powell.
“It was a combination of frustration on our side and interpretation on theirs. We sought clarity and got that.
“The feedback to the players was that we need to give the referees a better picture of what we do. We know the rules it was just a reminder of what was wrong and what not. There should be no issues this weekend,” he added.
The Blitzboks’ three Pool C opponents are also familiar foes. They played against Canada twice in recent tournaments and could expect the hosts to be fired up on home soil, while they also encountered Spain in BC Place last time they were there, outplaying the Western Europeans in their pool encounter and then again in the Cup quarter-final last year.
South Africa’s last encounter with Australia was in Malaga, Spain in January, two tournaments ago.
Blitzboks’ pool schedule (SA time):
Saturday, 16 April:
20h15: vs Spain
23h26: vs Canada
Sunday, 17 April:
03h33: vs Australia
Springbok Sevens squad for Vancouver:
- James Murphy - 6 tournaments; 20 matches, 10 points (2 tries)
- Ryan Oosthuizen - 28 tournaments; 137 matches, 150 points (30 tries)
- Impi Visser - 18 tournaments; 91 matches, 95 points (19 tries)
- Zain Davids - 29 tournaments; 145 matches, 135 points (27 tries)
- Christie Grobbelaar - 8 tournaments; 38 matches, 65 points (13 tries)
- JC Pretorius - 17 tournaments; 91 matches, 195 points (39 tries)
- Ronald Brown - 5 tournaments; 29 matches, 197 points (17 tries, 56 conversions)
- Selvyn Davids - 26 tournaments; 135 matches, 552 points (67 tries, 107 conversions, 1 penalty)
- Shaun Williams - 5 tournaments; 25 matches, 68 points (12 tries, 4 conversions)
- Dewald Human - 14 tournaments; 63 matches, 184 points (14 tries, 57 conversions)
- Siviwe Soyizwapi (captain) - 36 tournaments; 187 matches, 595 points (119 tries)
- Shilton van Wyk - 2 tournaments; 12 matches, 20 points (4 tries)
- Darren Adonis - 5 tournaments; 27 matches, 47 points (9 tries, 1 conversion)
Selected Blitzbok stats for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2022:
126: Selvyn Davids
106: Ronald Brown
75: Siviwe Soyizwapi
55: JC Pretorius
54: Branco du Preez
22: Selvyn Davids
15: Siviwe Soyizwapi
11: JC Pretorius
8: Ronald Brown, Shaun Williams
59: Zain Davids
49: JC Pretorius
46: Christie Grobbelaar, Impi Visser
44: Selvyn Davids
27: Impi Visser, Selvyn Davids
26: Christie Grobbelaar, JC Pretorius
25: Zain Davids
Selected Blitzbok career HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series stats:
230: Seabelo Senatla
179: Cecil Afrika, Fabian Juries
119: Siviwe Soyizwapi
115: Justin Geduld
1462: Cecil Afrika
1409: Branco du Preez
1150: Seabelo Senatla
1060: Justin Geduld
925: Fabian Juries