Future of Springbok Sevens looks bright, says Blitzboks' workhorse
While Werner Kok sees the role he’ll play among the Blitzbok forwards as a challenge, it’s one he’s looking forward to.
The workhorse will move up front as the Blitzboks hunt their first Hong Kong title, while Kurt-Lee Arendse will slot into his regular spot out wide.
Nice, new challenge
And while it’s not an entirely new thing, Kok admitted there are certain tasks he still needs to get used to.
“I have played as a forward occasionally, but this will be a nice, new challenge,” Kok said.
“I am comfortable with some of the tasks, but jumping in the line-out is new to me. It went well in training last week, but the challenge will be in the actual matches.
“I am keen to try it. Being here and being part of the squad is motivation enough to always give your best,” said Kok, who was named Player of the Tournament the last time he visited Hong Kong, in 2017.
“We are going through some system changes as a squad and everyone is excited about it. The future of Springbok Sevens looks bright.”
There’s also something new on the cards for another soon-to-be Blitzbok, Angelo Davids, who says he wants to make an impact, like Seabelo Senatla and Rosko Specman.
Davids (19) was due to make his Springbok Sevens bow at the Hong Kong Sevens last season, but an ankle injury robbed him of that chance.
This time last year, Blitzbok chief Neil Powell and SA Rugby Sevens Academy manager Marius Schoeman opted to send a youthful squad to the event while the seniors stayed in Stellenbosch to prepare for the Commonwealth Games.
Davids’ disappointment, thanks to injury, didn’t end there, as he had to watch from home how a young Blitzbok side defied the odds to claim bronze at the Cathay Pacific tournament.
Now, as expected, he’s keen to make up for lost time.
“If I can contribute the way they did, with their speed and feet, I will be very happy,” he said.
“In the end though, I need to be Angelo Davids, not a copy of someone else. I am very keen to go out and contribute.”
And just as his injury opened up the big Sevens door for somebody else last season, this time it’s the Stellenberg High School product who has had the favour returned following injury to Muller du Plessis.
“I have been dreaming of my next opportunity,” Davids said after his first field session in Hong Kong.
And as excited as he is, Davids admitted that the call-up wasn’t expected at all.
“I did not quite expect the call-up to Hong Kong, especially since the guys did so well in Vancouver,” Davids said.
“It is never nice to cover for an injury, but these things happen.”
The Blitzboks’ first match on Friday is against Japan at 12.06pm (SA time).