Impi, as he is known to his UCT team mates with the Adelaide trophy.
There is the realisation that Sevens is an unpredictable game, but Springbok Sevens captain (and UCT Ikey Tigers flank) Mpho Mbiyozo is confident that his team can take the spoils at the World Cup in Dubai from March 5 to 7.
“This is what we have been working for,” he said in an interview with the website www.paultreusevens.com on Thursday – a day before the team’s departure for the Emirates.
“It’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we don’t want to let it slip. We’re focused, we’re ready and we know we can beat any team.”
He declined to identify the danger sides.
“This is Sevens, there are many teams who can upset the best,” he said.
Mbiyozo also added what could be construed as a cliché, but what he feels is the Springboks’ approach: “It’s not about the other teams. It’s about us. We will control what we can, play how we can.”
The new captain – who initially became caretaker captain when Mzwandile Stick was injured in the Wellington tournament and has since been appointed ahead of another, now fit, captain Neil Powell – says the Springboks have worked hard on a few things that went wrong in the last two tournaments.
“We sat down, looked at the mistakes, tweaked here and there and we’re ready.”
He admitted that their bodies are still feeling the battering of those two tough tournaments in a format which even hardened veterans say is more tiring over a tournament than a Super 14 clash.
“We’re still a little sore, but it is about the mind. That is right, and we have another week in Dubai. It will be a week where mental preparation will take precedence,” he said.
Will they slip as the Boks did against Tunisia in their World Cup opener four years ago?
“Anything is possible,” he concedes, “but that’s unlikely. We will keep our focus.”
Key words, those.
Mbiyozo feels the leadership qualities in the side, the mental strength and the younger members of the team are a great boon.
“It’s great to have a guy like Neil [Powell] back. He’s played more than a 100 Currie Cup games, he’s played Super 14 and been Sevens captain. There’s also Paul Delport and the backing we’ve had from Marius Schoeman who has played 25 tournaments but can’t make this one because of injury.
“Yes, we’re ready. We’d like to give South Africa the double of two World Cups.”