Experience and then some – that is the statistical reality of the Springbok Sevens team, who will start the HSBC Cape Town Sevens this weekend as the most experienced Blitzbok team ever.
Four players – Chris Dry (63), Kyle Brown (59), Branco du Preez (56) and Cecil Afrika (54) – have played in more than 50 tournaments, while Blitzbok captain Philip Snyman will be playing in his 49th.
A host of others have played 30 tournaments or more. The least experienced squad member is Tim Agaba, who will be in action in his 12th tournament.
The Blitzboks boast a combined tournament total of 458, or on average, 38 tournaments per player.
Dry, South Africa’s second most capped player ever, has played in 304 matches and admits that the experience in the squad is a big bonus.
“That experience is very important and helps in tight situations,” said Dry.
“For me personally, to play 300 matches was a massive honour and something I am really proud of.
The experienced forward said they are aiming to be at their best in Cape Town: “We are fixing the small things that held us back in Dubai and training went well.”
Du Preez commended his team mates on their contributions this week.
“Players such as Cecil Afrika, Rosko Specman and Justin Geduld are really special and to compete against them is not easy,” said Du Preez.
“We are supporting each other, but we also push each other to improve.”
Du Preez was clear on the team’s objectives for the weekend: “We need to get our focus right. That first match against Russia will set the tone for us.
“The fact that we play at home will lift us. It is awesome to be back in Cape Town and to feel the support,” Du Preez said.
Apart from the traditional captain’s run on Friday, the team completed their preparations at the Villager sports fields on Thursday.
National cricket captain, Faf du Plessis, also popped in to show his support and wished the team well for the tournament.
They were also visited by Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport in the Western Cape, Ms Anroux Marais, who thanked the team for their positive contribution to nation building.