Hacjivah Dayimani joined the Springbok Sevens squad on Monday as the wider Blitzboks training group converged at their base at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport to start preparation for the 2019/20 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
The 21-year-old Emirates Lions star was joined by Blitzboks regulars, Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Dylan Sage, Rosko Specman, Muller du Plessis and Angelo Davids, who all re-aligned with the squad after a season with their various provinces where they played in the Currie Cup and age-group competitions.
Dayimani last played sevens for the South African Under-18 team that won gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa in 2015 and hopes to be part of the squad to contest the opening tournaments of the new series in Dubai and Cape Town in December.
“I came here for two reasons,” said Dayimani, “the first is to improve as a rugby player and I believe adding the skills required to play sevens will make me a better fifteens player as well.
“The other is to make the Blitzboks squad that will play in the opening legs of the World Series. I also will try my best to make the squad that will travel to the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.”
The speedy looseforward loved his time in sevens as a junior player and said he is keen to re-introduce himself to the game: “The one thing about sevens I love is the one-on-one contests. In fifteens you can make a mistake and get away with it or someone can cover for you, but sevens are brutal in that regard. If you miss a tackle, you leave a gap. I also love the space the game offers,” Dayimani said.
The first day back in camp was spent with medicals and other testing, but Dayimani said he already felt very welcome.
“I am the new guy here, but everyone immediately made me feel welcome. They treated me as if I have been here 10 years and that is awesome. I am very keen to be part of this group,” he said.
• The team to travel to the Oktoberfest7s in Munich on Tuesday was forced into a late change after Ryan Oosthuizen was withdrawn due to a back strain. He will be replaced by Sako Makata.
The revised SA Sevens team for the weekend’s Oktoberfest7s is:
Branco du Preez
Siviwe Soyizwapi (c)
Management: Neil Powell (coach), Hugh Everson (physio), Ashley Evert (manager).
Schedule for Saturday, 21 September:
15h06: New Zealand