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