Blitzbokke set to step it up in Wellington
The Blitzboks are only two tournaments in and they have already made two finals, claiming the Dubai title and being edged out by England in the final of the Cape Town event. Oh, and they are on top of the World Sevens Series standings. Talk about a good start, right?
Now Springboks Sevens skipper Philip Snyman,
wants to continue that fine run in Wellington this weekend.
And with a solid combination of new faces and experienced power and speed, the South Africans stand a good chance of winning their first Wellington title since 2002.
It’s going to be a special one for the captain, who last year debuted as skipper in New Zealand and took his team all the way to the final. Now, of course, he is keen to get them over that final hurdle.
“It is hard to believe it is that time of the year already and that the Wellington tournament is about to kick-off,” Snyman said.
“We don’t have Kyle (Brown) and Cecil Afrika here this time, due to injuries, and we have lost a lot of experience because of that. But I am pretty excited about the new guys who came in and we are keen to give it another go to try and win the tournament. We trained well this week and will be ready, for the first match against Japan tomorrow.”
Former skipper Brown, who stepped down late last year, picked up an injury during the Cape Town event, while Afrika sustained an injury during training for the New Zealand spectacle.
And Snyman’s excitement about the “new guys” is totally justified – they have new recruit and Junior Springboks star Zain Davids, who enjoyed a successful introduction to the abbreviated game with the SA Sevens Academy in Dubai last year, while Siviwe Soyizwapi, who was official backup to the team last year, will also be looking to establish himself.
And, of course, Neil Powell’s side also have the try master Seabelo Senatla back in their camp after he recovered from a calf injury.
Jet-lag doesn’t seem to be a drawback for the South Africans either.
“It is hard to change around 11 hours as it is night and day, but we had some good sessions,” said Snyman.
“Our attack looked sharp on Tuesday and the defence session we had Wednesday also had a good edge to it, so I am pretty pleased with the squad’s mind-sets at the moment.”
The Blitzboks face Japan, Australia and Fiji tomorrow in a tough Pool B, but Snyman is adamant that the team will embrace those challenges.
“Yes, that is a tough pool and we face three very good sides tomorrow, but we are ready to take them on,” said Snyman.
“We have to get past Japan first, so we are putting a lot of focus on that. We need to start well and build momentum towards day two. The foundation of our quest to win here will be laid on the first day and the first match, so we must start well.