A career spanning more than a decade on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series has not only made Philip Snyman the most decorated Blitzbok captain ever, it also gave him some perspective on the up and downs of international sevens rugby.
Snyman, who will be playing in his 59 tournament this weekend, said the Blitzboks still have their sights set on more victories in 2019 season, despite failing to finish higher than third all season. And it’s the emergence of younger players that is filling him with hope.
“The exciting part of this journey now is to see the talent and potential of the new and younger players coming in,” said Snyman.
“The future of the Blitzboks is indeed bright with the current crop of youngsters, and with the established culture to aid them, the programme is on a good footing.”
Snyman realises that the end of his fantastic journey – that delivered three World Series titles – is slowly approaching, but he is keen to contribute as long as needed.
“On a personal level there is the knowledge that it will come to an end, but till that day, I will run onto the field with a massive smile. It has been such an honour to be part of this system,” said Snyman.
“I have not lifted the trophy in Vancouver yet, and yes, I want to. For that to happen this weekend, we need to focus on a lot of other things but the trophy.”
Snyman had the following to say about their opponents on the first day: “Chile gave us a fright in Las Vegas, where they played well. They are preparing for the World Series qualifying tournament in Hong Kong next month and are very determined at the moment.
“Wales have a young squad, but they play without fear. They are determined with ball in hand and dangerous.
“The USA have pace and power and they are enjoying a very good run in the series. We conceded too much possession against them last weekend and if we sort that out, we can have a different outcome.”
The Springbok Sevens squad is:
1. Impi Visser – 5 tournaments; 29 matches, 15 points (3 tries)
2. Philip Snyman (captain) – 59 tournaments; 268 matches, 361 points (66 tries, 16 conversions)
3. Zain Davids – 17 tournaments; 82 matches, 60 points)
4. Sako Makata – 1 tournament, 5 matches, 0 points
5. Werner Kok – 42 tournaments; 213 matches, 480 points (96 tries)
6. JC Pretorius – 2 tournaments; 6 matches, 15 points (three tries)
7. Branco du Preez – 66 tournaments; 333 matches, 1218 points (88 tries, 386 conversions, 1 penalty, 1 drop goal)
8. Selvyn Davids – 10 tournaments; 47 matches, 178 points (22 tries, 34 conversions)
9. Justin Geduld – 41 tournaments; 211 matches, 894 points (93 tries, 213 conversions, 1 penalty)
10. Stedman Gans – 14 tournaments; 63 matches, 90 points (18 tries)
11. Siviwe Soyizwapi – 23 tournaments; 118 matches, 365 points (73 tries)
12. Muller du Plessis – 7 tournaments; 27 matches, 85 points (17 tries)
13. Kurt-Lee Arendse – on debut; official reserve
Kurt-Lee Arendse stats
Born: 17 June 1996, Paarl
Physical: 1.76m & 80kg
Education: Paulus Joubert Secondary, Paarl; University of Western Cape (BA Social Sciences)
Squads: Boland U18 Academy Week (2014); DHL Western Province U19 (2015); Boland U20 (2016), UWC Varsity Sevens (2018), FNB Varsity Cup (2019); SA Rugby Sevens Academy (2018/19)
Fast Facts: Arendse caught the eye at the Varsity Cup Sevens in 2018, where he was named MVP. He joined the SA Rugby Sevens Academy in December 2018 and has played in tournaments in Dubai, Uruguay and Chile for the squad.
Head to Head Stats:
South Africa v Chile
Played 3: 1 win (33-0 Vancouver 2017; 1 draw (5-5 Las Vegas 2019), 1 defeat (21-28 Punta del Este 2000).
Average score: 20-11
South Africa v Wales
Played 45: 44 wins, 1 defeat
Average score: 27-8
South Africa v USA
Played 50: 43 wins, 6 defeats, 1 draw
Average score: 25-9
The Blitzboks’ pool fixtures are (SA times):
Saturday, 9 March
Sunday 10 March