Brown re­turns to lead sevens Bl­itzbokke af­ter Sny­man in­jury

The New Age (Western Cape) - - Sport - MMASEKEPE MATSEBANE mmasekepem@the­newage.co.za

BL­ITZBOKKE coach Neil Pow­ell has re­acted quickly to the dou­ble blow in Syd­ney that saw his side lose in the fi­nal, and an in­jury to cap­tain Philip Sny­man, by ap­point­ing Kyle Brown to lead the team in Hamil­ton, New Zealand.

The move will not be a new one for Brown or the rest of the team as the player used to be a reg­u­lar cap­tain for the Spring­bok Sevens in the past, only choos­ing to stand down at the end of the 2015-16 sea­son to al­low Sny­man to take over.

The in­jury has forced Pow­ell to go back to the 30-year-old Brown and the man who guided the Bl­itzbokke to a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics said he is equal to the task.

“There are a good cou­ple of lead­ers in the squad and a great bunch of guys, so I am pleased to lead them,” Brown said.

“In fact, lead­ing the team will not be the most dif­fi­cult part of tak­ing over from Philip. It would rather be on the field where he adds that some­thing ex­tra.

“Philip is ruth­less on the ground and on de­fence and who­ever takes over from him in the start­ing line-up will have big shoes to fill this week­end.

“The cap­taincy was slightly un­ex­pected, but to be sit­ting out­side Frodo’s house (fropm Lord of the Rings) was in­cred­i­bly in­ter­est­ing and al­most sur­real. We had a good laugh about it.”

Brown’s first task will be to help his team­mates for­get about their 29-0 loss to Aus­tralia in the fi­nal and fo­cus on win­ning what will be their sec­ond World Sevens Se­ries fi­nal this sea­son.

“We pro­gressed so well dur­ing the week into the tour­na­ment and then came that fi­nal. Aus­tralia were fan­tas­tic, but we were re­ally poor.

“Maybe the mo­ment was too big for us, but the fact is that we had some great matches dur­ing the tour­na­ment, such as the semi­fi­nal against the US. That is the type of per­for­mance we want to repli­cate this week­end.

“We like to judge our­selves on our own ef­fort and we did not im­ple­ment that in the fi­nal. That will drive us this week­end,” Brown said.

To re­place the in­jured Sny­man and Ruhan Nel, Pow­ell has called on Zain Davids and Muller du Plessis.

They are ex­pected to ar­rive in Hamil­ton to­day.

“We are look­ing for­ward to the week­end. I am happy for Muller, who was still at school last year, as we are look­ing to build depth in the group.

“He and Zain will be keen to slot in, but they will only ar­rive in the early hours of the morn­ing and the field ses­sion to­mor­row will be test­ing for them for sure,” the new cap­tain said.

The Bl­itzbokke are grouped in Pool B along with Pa­pua New Guinea, Eng­land and Rus­sia.

PIC­TURE: GETTY IMAGES

BACK IN CHARGE: Kyle Brown re­turns to take the reins of the Bl­itzbokke af­ter Philip Sny­man’s in­jury.

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