“We have been training very well, the intensity is high, the guys are keen and the input very good”
Despite another injury interruption, stand-in Blitzboks skipper Siviwe Soyizwapi believes the team are in a good space ahead of their first match at the Hong Kong leg of the World Sevens Series tomorrow.
Chris Dry has been promoted to the 12-man squad after Zain Davids was ruled out due to a shoulder injury picked up in training yesterday.
Dry, recently back from injury, travelled to Hong Kong as the official reserve, and his elevation to the squad for his 67th tournament sees James Murphy make his way to Hong Kong as the 13th player.
Murphy made his debut in Hong Kong last year and also played in Singapore for the Blitzboks. He will join the squad today.
“We have been training very well, the intensity is high, the guys are keen and the input very good,” said Soyizwapi.
“There has been good energy and the fact that we are enjoying each other’s company off the field as well makes everyone keen to get started.
“We are a happy team. We play best when the guys are in a good space and happy with each other’s company and playing for the guys next to you.
“If we get that going early, it will be a goal achieved and a box ticked.”
Another player who’s positive ahead of the iconic event is Branco du Preez (pictured), who feels something’s about to happen for the Blitzboks in Hong Kong. What exactly that “something” is Du Preez didn’t say, but he did say that feeling accompanies him every season ahead of this tournament.
And there’s been a few for the 28-year-old. Du Preez will this weekend join Frankie Horne in second place on the South African list of most tournament appearances when he runs out in Asia in his 68th tournament.
“Every time you come to Hong Kong – and I have been here a couple of times before – you get that feeling that something is about to happen,” said Du Preez, who has played in 339 matches in his World Series career.
“Each time you step onto the field for the team, representing your country, makes it very special and the crowd makes it even more so.”
Du Preez has scored 1220 points at an average of 3.6 per match, which shows his value to the team, with his 387 conversions the Blitzboks’ benchmark.
“My main aim is to make sure I do my job, whether it is starting the match or coming off the bench. All of us have different responsibilities, but whatever is expected I will be giving it at the very best of my abilities,” Du Preez added.
The Blitzboks face Japan, Samoa and Scotland in Pool A of the tournament.