There were tears of joy and broad smiles, as well as a sense of relief in the Springbok Sevens camp following their tournament win in Canada this weekend, which came just at the right time for the Blitzboks to gain momentum for the rest of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Siviwe Soyizwapi, who had the honour of captaining the Blitzboks in their final two matches of the HSBC Canada Sevens in BC Place on Sunday after Philip Snyman was ruled out due to injury, said they felt a lot of mixed emotions in Vancouver.
“We needed this victory,” said Soyizwapi.
“We are rebuilding the squad and it was such a relief for us to get back to winning ways. This win was building and building, and it was just reward for the hard work.
“This win was very emotional for us as we worked so hard the last couple of weeks. We have smiles on the faces now as the massive efforts got reward. It was a perfect weekend where so many things came together for us, guys trusting and backing each other, all buying to the game plan and the squad working as brothers.”
Soyizwapi was “super happy” with the victory, but also the way the team delivered on Sunday: “We trained hard to play a certain way and it came off, the guys played like we know we can. This is a great result for us going forward.”
Another Blitzbok stalwart, Werner Kok, said the win was not only important for the team.
“This is for everyone involved with the team as well, including our supporters – we almost took winning for granted and this is such a nice feeling to win again,” said Kok, who also praised the role of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy, with the likes of Impi Visser, JC Pretorius, Sako Makata and Kurt-Lee Arendse all graduating into Blitzboks this year.
“The guys in the Academy work just as hard as us. They keep competition as healthy as it could be and this win belongs to them too.
“It is important for the next group of players to take the flag and run with it. Nothing lasts forever and we must use every opportunity to play for this team and our country. You must be prepared to make sacrifices for this team and the guys showed that this weekend.”
Kok endorsed the younger players: “They did well and grabbed the opportunity. Look at Stedman Gans, he was given the starting role and he was phenomenal.”
The team will arrive back in Cape Town today.