Exciting Blitzbok youngsters help put mediocre start behind them

Sevens captain Philip Snyman and wife Estee and daughter Emily during the South Africa Sevens team arrivals at Cape Town International Airport.
Sevens captain Philip Snyman and wife Estee and daughter Emily during the South Africa Sevens team arrivals at Cape Town International Airport.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Blitzbok captain Philip Snyman believes that the team’s mediocre start to the 2018/19 HSBC World Sevens Series campaign is behind them and they are ready to show the form that won the title for the past two seasons.

The Blitzboks have a new look squad this season due to injuries and players moving on to fifteens‚ but there is a still a strong experienced core.

After two rounds of the 10-legged series the Blitzboks are fifth‚ eight points behind log leaders the USA.

They desperately need to rediscover the form that has yielded back-to-back World Series titles to rekindle their chase for a third title in a row.

Snyman is one of the most experienced campaigners having been part of all the Blitzboks World Series winning teams in 2009‚ 2017 and 2018.

He has played 56 tournaments and along with Kyle Brown (67 tournaments)‚ Chris Dry (64 tournaments) and Branco du Preez (63 tournaments) are the backbone of the evolving team.

But it’s the exciting potential of the likes of Impi Visser (two tournaments)‚ Selvyn Davids (seven tournaments) and Dewald Human (six tournaments) that has the captain optimistic.

“The SA Rugby Sevens Academy has produced some real talent in recent years‚” said Snyman.

“We have lost the likes of Rosko Specman‚ Dylan Sage and Tim Agaba from last year's team and still have a couple of injured players back home‚ but all the right ingredients are in this year's group to make it successful again.

“The old hands know what is needed and the young ones will bring it on. The fact that we had a slower start was a good thing as this time around we will pick up speed and gather momentum as we train and play together more and more.

“In previous years‚ we had fast starts and had to hold on towards the end of the season. This time it looks to be the other way around‚” predicted the experienced captain.

Snyman missed last year's trip to New Zealand due to injury and will play in Hamilton for the first time.

The various team captains visited Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia‚ the official residence and reception centre of the Māori King‚ on Wednesday and to Snyman it was another special memory in his stellar career.

“It was special to share this with the captains today‚ no doubt‚” said Snyman.

“It is also wonderful to play in the tournament this weekend where Kyle Brown will equal Frankie Horne's record of 68 World Series tournaments and great to have Chris Dry back as well‚ after more than a year on the sidelines.

"I never had serious injuries‚ while Kyle and Chris did‚ so it will be a superb feeling to run out with both them yet again.”

The South Africans face Kenya‚ France and Scotland in Pool C and Snyman said his team talk would be an easy one:

“We trained hard the last couple of weeks. We need to leave all the emotions and personal achievements behind and go and execute.” The Blitzboks’ schedule for the first day is (SA times‚ all matches on SuperSport):

Friday‚ 25 January at 23h22: vs Kenya

Saturday 26 January at 03h10: vs France

Saturday 26 January at 07h22: vs Scotland

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