The HSBC World Sevens Series has become synonymous with all-out action, tries galore, big hits and watching some of the premier athletes in the game trying to outrun each other – all at breath-taking speeds. Some of the fastest players in the world out are out there, and when the HSBC New Zealand Sevens kicks off at FMG Stadium Waikato on Saturday, it will be no different.
This is particularly the case for the Springbok Sevens as two of the younger players in the squad are also the fastest.
Angelo Davids, who turns 21 years old on 1 June, and Muller du Plessis, who will celebrate that milestone 25 days later, boast immense pace down an athletics track, clocking 100m in 10.5 (Davids) and 10.6 (Du Plessis) seconds respectively.
Their pace is almost as serious as their re-admission into the squad for the first time in the current World Series. Davids last played in Singapore in 2019, where the Blitzboks won the tournament, with the winger scoring in the final, and Du Plessis played the last of his 10 tournaments in Paris, where he scored his 31st try, adding to a fantastic scoring strike rate.
For both, the New Zealand leg of the World Series is a great opportunity to make their mark in the squad once again. Du Plessis travelled to New Zealand in 2018 as the thirteenth player but had the misfortune of injuring himself in training and did not play at all, while Davids finds himself in New Zealand for the very first time.
“It is very exciting to be here in New Zealand; it is a country I have always wanted to visit and now I am here representing the Blitzboks and South Africa on the rugby field. I can’t wait,” said Davids, who also represented the Junior Springboks in Argentina in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship last year.
“I love playing for the Blitzboks and it is great to be back.
“I missed a chunk of it last year to play for the Junior Boks, so am very happy to be back on what is my field of dreams. Playing for the Blitzboks is a dream come true and I love every minute of it.”
Du Plessis- who also played for the Junior Boks in 2018 – is equally keen to show his worth. In fact, the former Cell C Sharks age-group player opted out of 15-a-side rugby for the next two seasons to concentrate on his Sevens career.
“I am very grateful to be here and be part of the team, and I am very keen to have a run in New Zealand, as I have also not played in this tournament before,” said Du Plessis.
“Two years ago, I picked up an injury and could not play. So, I am hoping for a solid season and to contribute to the team that I hold so dearly.
“It is great playing for this team and the guys around me. Knowing that my team-mates are out there doing their best for me inspires me to return that favour.”
•The Blitzboks are currently sharing the top spot on the World Series log with New Zealand (41 points) with France (29), Argentina (24), England (24) and Fiji (23) trailing