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Blitzboks out to break duck at Hong Kong Sevens

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Veteran Branco du Preez says the Blitzboks are aiming to break their duck in Hong Kong during this weekend’s 2022/23 World Series opener.

Branco du Preez is confident that SA’s luck can change in Hong Kong. Picture: Chris Ricco, BackpagePix

Cape Town — The one World Sevens Series title that has always side-stepped the Blitzboks is the Hong Kong trophy.

The Springbok Sevens side will get their 2022/23 World Series campaign under way this weekend, and South Africa’s most capped player is confident that their luck can change in Hong Kong.

The three-time series champions will face France, Great Britain and Uruguay in Pool B.

“Yes, the world has not seen the best of us here in Hong Kong, we need to change that,” says veteran Branco du Preez.

“We still need to show the world we can win this. Yes, we came close a couple of times, but I do believe we can do this – especially if we focus on a team effort and eliminate the small errors in our game.”

A number of Blitzboks will experience the iconic Hong Kong Stadium for the first time, and Du Preez – who will be playing in his 10th tournament at the venue – had some advice for his teammates.

“The stadium is really close to the field, so one can get side-tracked easily. I would say to them don’t get star-struck, stay in the game,” he said.

It will be the first time since 2019 that the popular event will take place due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Blitzboks will enter the season-opener under the tutelage of new coach Sandile Ngcobo and his assistant Philip Snyman, who took over from the long-serving Neil Powell.

Sandile Ngcobo (head coach of South Africa Sevens) and Philip Snyman (assistant coach). Picture: Ryan Wilkisky, BackpagePix

“Yes, we have a new coaching team, but the players have been around for a while now and so I believe they should not be overawed by the occasion. It will be important for us to understand what the coaches want to achieve at the tournament and then buy into that. If we do, we should be fine,” said Du Preez, who has kicked a record 464 conversions in his Blitzbok career.

“My feeling is that we need a good start and things will happen for us after. We should never be comfortable with achievements of the past, so we need to build a good innings this year and we have a fresh start here in Hong Kong. If we do that, then I believe we can be successful.”

The Blitzboks’ fixtures for the Hong Kong Sevens (SA time):

Friday

12.05pm Uruguay

Saturday

7.10am Great Britain

11.05am France

@WynonaLouw

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