Blitzboks’ evolution to continue in Sydney
The Blitzboks’ evolution will continue in Sydney this weekend with abrasive forward Zain Davids set to start ahead of captain Philip Snyman.
Davids‚ 21‚ started all six matches in Hamilton last week‚ where the Blitzboks ended fourth to move to 44 points on the standings‚ 13 behind log leaders the USA and Fiji.
Blitzboks coach Neil Powell has been planning ways to extend the careers of his stalwarts‚ while also ensuring that the younger players gain more experience with an eye on the future. In Davids’s case‚ the coach felt he was ready to start after accumulating 15 tournament caps and playing in the Rugby Sevens World Cup last year.
Davids‚ who is determined not to fluff this opportunity‚ said: “It was a big surprise when coach told me I will be starting. We are a squad and a family‚ so we have each other’s backs‚ but I still didn’t expected it‚ as Philip is the captain.
“Even Philip supported the decision‚ and that made me very proud and humble.”
The two-time gold medal HSBC World Rugby World Series winner‚ who made his Blitzboks’ debut in 2017‚ added: “I trust the processes in the team and I know that will comfort me in games. The rest of the squad will also look after me‚ just as I look after them.”
The vote of confidence and support from his captain was a particularly huge boost for Davids‚ who also represented the Junior Springboks as a loose forward.
“Hearing from Philip that he backed me to take up a starting berth meant a lot‚” he said.
“I am very determined to make sure I don’t disappoint that trust. These are big shoes to fill‚ but I will do my absolute best to contribute in my new role‚” Davids said.
After three rounds of the 2018-19 World Series the Blitzboks have yet to make a final and are slipping further behind Fiji‚ the USA and New Zealand. They need to arrest that slide in Sydney this weekend if they hope to retain the title they have won for the past two seasons.
“We are not far off in terms of what we are doing‚ but I do feel we are not executing as well as we can‚” Branco du Preez said. “We know what works for us‚ and we still believe in that‚ but the small details are not being applied properly.”
Du Preez‚ who will be playing in his 65th tournament for South Africa‚ said if the team could improve on the finer details of their game‚ there is no reason why they cannot return home with success.
“We were a bit rushed at times in Hamilton and that cramped our style‚” he said. “Taking a step back in order to take two forward will work fine for us‚ I believe.”