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Blitzboks must not lose their composure in final push for Paris

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‘We need to get ourselves in a good mental state so the emotions don’t get the best of us. You can’t be too nervous, you can’t be too excited,’ says coach.

South Africa Sevens skipper Selvyn Davids says the team is ‘motivated for sure’ ahead of the Olympic Sevens Repechage matches in Monaco. File Picture: JEFF VINNICK, Getty Images via AFP

The Springbok Sevens should not be troubled by lowly Mexico in Friday’s first Olympic Sevens Repechage match in Monaco.

In fact, there should be three easy pool games over the next two days for the South Africans to see them safely into the play-offs on Sunday for the one available spot for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

The Blitzboks will face the Mexicans on Friday afternoon (4.44pm kick-off) in the opener with matches against Tonga (1.44pm) and Chile (5.56pm) on Saturday to complete their round-robin clashes.

Then on Sunday, it’s the all-important placement matches and teams like Great Britain, Spain and Canada could stand in the way of the Blitzboks to reach their goal of qualifying.

Although the important matches will be on Sunday, Springbok Sevens interim coach Philip Snyman warned his side not to take their group opponents lightly.

He believes their defensive effort will be the key to a successful weekend in Monaco.

“This is probably our most important week of the last two years,” Snyman said. “We need to get ourselves in a good mental state so the emotions don’t get the best of us. You can’t be too nervous, you can’t be too excited.

“We know we are here to do something: to qualify for the Olympic Games. If the system is strong, the individual in the system will be strong. From that first match, we will set the tone and lay a good foundation for the rest of the tournament.

“The aim for the pool stages is to concede as few tries as possible. We worked hard, especially on defence, and I have faith and confidence in the team we selected for this massive task. “A spot at the Olympics will give the season so much meaning.”

Captain Selvyn Davids, who played at the Tokyo Olympics, said if they could pull off a win in Monaco it would salvage some pride and put them into contention for an Olympic medal.

The Blitzboks had a dismal SVNS Series and only won one tournament. In the previous season, they also failed to finish among the top four teams, and lost to Kenya at the Africa qualifier for an Olympic spot.

“The squad is motivated, for sure. The Olympics are the biggest thing in sport, and every sportsperson wants to be part of that,” Davids added. “We have this big opportunity now, and it would be silly to waste it. This could be a massive turnaround for us.”

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