Home Sport Rugby Gans has big shoes to fill at the Blitzboks

Gans has big shoes to fill at the Blitzboks

77
SHARE

“It was a massive feeling, standing amongst some great captains and great teams that will play on the weekend.”

“That format” will come into play this weekend

Thanks to World Rugby, there have been changes made to two legs of the World Sevens Series, which will now see truncated legs in Hamilton and Sydney as the quarter-final stage has been removed from the schedule for those two events.

This means only the four pool winners in New Zealand and Australia make it into the semi-finals, and not the top two teams.

Dramatic, right?

But that won’t be the only change the Blitzboks will experience at Waikato Stadium.

They will run out with a new captain in Stedman Gans, while five players will get a taste of the 2019/20 series for the first time.

Neil Powell’s team will face Japan, England and Kenya in a very competitive Pool B this weekend, but for Gans it all adds to the motivation of the individual and the squad.

“I saw so many of these pictures in the past, and never realised that I will be featuring in it myself in future,” said Gans, who attended the traditional captain’s photo yesterday at the iconic Hamilton Gardens.

“It was a massive feeling, standing amongst some great captains and great teams that will play on the weekend.”

Gans said that playing under great Blitzbok captains of the past has helped prepare him for the role.

“I came into the team when Kyle Brown and then Philip Snyman were the captains and last year, Siviwe Soyizwapi took over,” he said.

“They are great people and great players and I learned a lot from them, on and off the field.

“It is big shoes to fill, but the examples set were great, so I know what to do.

And then there’s also the experience he will have around him

“I am very lucky to have some very experienced players around me. Branco du Preez and Chris Dry are the two most capped Blitzboks ever, and Cecil Afrika is the leading points scorer of all time. And they are playing next to me this weekend. It will help a lot as I can focus on my role as a player without having to worry about the rest of the guys,” Gans said.

Gans also added that the new format for the Hamilton tournament shouldn’t be too massive an adjustment for them.

“We are lucky in that we already have a system in place that does not look too far ahead – we believe in the first game on the first day and adjust from there,” said Gans.

Wynona Louw