Justin Geduld is not a two-time HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series winner for nothing. The 25-year-old flyhalf was hugely instrumental in the Springbok Sevens team’s successes in the last two seasons and after 39 tournaments and 200 matches for the Blitzboks, the desire still burns strong for the Cape Town-born playmaker.
That will again apply this weekend in Sydney, where 16 teams will contest the HSBC Sydney7s at Spotless Stadium in the fourth of 10 tournaments on the World Series.
Geduld, who was in doubt for this trip after knee surgery in December, is confident that the Blitzboks will bounce back and land on their feet after a slower than usual start to the series.
“We have been in situations like this before and we have responded,” said Geduld, who has scored 872 points (89 tries, 212 conversions and a penalty goal) in his 200 appearances.
“We are still a good team and the talent is there to deliver winning results. As soon as that jersey goes over your head, the desire to represent your country and to play for the guy next to you is there. To do your best is a given.”
The Blitzboks have a tough pool and after an average performance on defence in Hamilton last weekend, they worked hard on this aspect of their game in sweltering and humid conditions in Sydney this week.
Springbok Sevens assistant coach Renfred Dazel said defence was the key element in their preparations for the weekend, where they face Tonga, Argentina and Australia in Pool D.
“We knew and realised losing the likes of Dylan (Sage), Kwagga (Smith), Seabelo (Senatla) and Ruhan (Nel) would have an impact, but that is not an excuse for our performances so far this series,” said Dazel.
“We needed to do better in certain areas and worked hard to improve, something I feel we are doing.”
Dazel feels the knock-out punch of the past is lacking, but is still part of the team’s arsenal: “Putting teams away in the last two, three minutes is something we will have to do better, no doubt. The previous squad did that and we need to improve on that.
“There is progress, as the players are improving and picking up more experience and confidence. Guys such as Dewald (Human) and Zain (Davids) are now starting for the first time and Stedman (Gans) and Justin are back from injury, so we are getting better by the minute.”