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Davids deserves Canada accolades

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Selvyn Davids, who went into the Canada leg 10 tournaments young, was instrumental in the Blitzboks’ road to the final

epa06901758 Selvyn Davids (L) of South Africa in action against Irelands Hugo Keenan (R) during the Rugby World Cup Sevens Round of 16 match between South Africa and Ireland in San Francisco, California USA, 20 July 2018. Picture: EPA/TONY AVELAR

The Blitzboks got a lot of things right in Vancouver. Obviously, as they ended top of the podium in Canada.

There were some brilliant team performances by Neil Powell’s group all the way to the final of the sixth tournament of the 2018/19 World Sevens Series. And also many eye-catching individual ones.

The individual contributions of the youngsters – or less-experienced players – were particularly pleasing after the Blitzboks have had to bounce back from what you could call a player exodus, with key players such as Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Kwagga Smith, Tim Agaba, Rosko Specman and Dylan Sage all having left the circuit to pursue their Fifteens ambitions.

Selvyn Davids (pictured), who went into the Canada leg 10 tournaments young, was instrumental in the Blitzboks’ road to the final.

He was an attacking catalyst as he created opportunities (remember that filthy, soccer-like piece of play against Wales?) and also scored crucial tries, most notably against Fiji and France.

He chowed down the BC Place pitch with his running metres, but he also played his part on defence. He had no trouble hitting the black dot from all angles with his conversions either (which helped him become the tournament’s top points-scorer). So it’s no wonder he was named Player of the Final. It’s no wonder he made the Vancouver Dream Team.

But for all the good Davids did at the weekend, he refused to take all the credit, of course.

“It was a great feeling to win after so long. It was the first tournament I played in that we’ve won, it was my first final,” Davids said when the team arrived at the Cape Town International Airport yesterday morning.

When asked about the try they scored thanks to that left-foot hook, the one that made sure the ball remained in the field of play after he had chipped the ball forward, Davids jokingly questioned: “Which try was that?”.

On a serious note, though, the 24-year-old attributed that skill to their recovery sessions.

“We play a lot of soccer in our flush-out sessions, so I just thought I had to something to keep the ball in the field of play. I don’t know what went through my mind, but it worked, so ja,” Davids said laughingly.

“Rugby is a team sport, so you can’t score the points in your own. I need to thank my teammates and coach Neil Powell for backing me to get more game time. If it wasn’t for my teammates I wouldn’t have been the top points scorer.”

The World Series moves on to the Hong Kong leg three weeks from now.