Sixteen captains lined up at the iconic Robben Island Blue Frame ahead of the HSBC Cape Town Sevens, which takes place this weekend at the Cape Town Stadium.
Cape Town is the second stop on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 and follows on from a thrilling opening round in Dubai last weekend, where New Zealand claimed the title for the first time in nine years.
The competition kicks off at 10:15 local time (GMT+2) on Saturday, 8 December when Canada take on Scotland before the other Pool D match sees Australia, who placed fourth in Dubai, face Wales.
Next up will be the Pool C matches involving Dubai bronze medallists England, Fiji, France and Kenya.
Argentina, runners-up in Cape Town last year, will face Spain in Pool B followed by Dubai runners-up USA taking on new core team Japan.
Defending champions New Zealand will join hosts South Africa, Samoa and invitational team Zimbabwe in Pool A. South Africa will wear a specially-designed jersey as part of the centenary celebrations of the life of the late Nelson Mandela.
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Speaking at the captains’ launch, South Africa captain Philip Synman looked forward to the weekend and being part of centenary celebrations, playing in the unique Madiba- jersey.
“We are really looking forward to this weekend. You only get one opportunity to play in front of your home crowd, 50,000 people supporting you and then 50 million people at home. I think we will really inspire them by the fact that we will play in a limited edition jersey, a one-off jersey, as a tribute to the late Madiba,” Snyman said.
“We are really happy to play in Cape Town this weekend and I think, especially coming off a not so good Dubai tournament, the guys will be ready and fired up and we believe we will be successful this weekend.”
England captain Tom Mitchell added: “Coming over to Robben Island, where there is so much history, particularly this year and the history of Mandela and everything that goes with it. I’m sure that will add extra emotion into what should be an amazing tournament this weekend.
“We were pleased with a lot of the work we delivered in Dubai. There were a few changes in the off-season and pre-season, trying to put those into effect and you always have grand ideas, you want to hit your straps and have everything perfect. That’s pretty unrealistic, but a lot of the work we did was really good. What we want to do is build on that this weekend coming, which is what you have to do with each tournament – try to get better and better.”
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