The inner workings of the Blitzboks have contributed to much of their success on and off the field. The need and desire to contribute to the greater good of the squad has been as important as the end product – winning matches, tournaments and HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series titles.
That mission statement has not changed, although the results have in the current World Series, with the Blitzboks in fourth position on the overall log after as many tournaments.
At the start of the HSBC Las Vegas Sevens on Friday – the fifth in the series of 10 – the Blitzboks are in real danger of falling behind front-runners New Zealand, Fiji and USA and losing their grip on the coveted series trophy.
Yet, for newcomer Impi Visser and tour stalwart Sivive Soyizwapi, the objectives remain the same. Both are keen to keep on contributing, although in different departments of the game.
For Visser, who recently qualified as mechanical engineer, the construction and assembly of a smooth running component is a given and as a forward in the sevens code, much of that can be applied. The construction of phases, the set-up to manipulate defences and open up gaps for the speedsters to exploit are all in a day’s work for the former FNB Tuks graduate.
On the receiving end of these well-oiled mechanics is Soyizwapi, now one of the true finishers on the world circuit. Soyizwapi’s 16 tries are amongst the leading efforts after four tournaments, with Carlin Isles (USA, 18) and Dan Norton (England, 17) just ahead of the Eastern Cape flyer.
Soyizwapi applauds the role of those on the inside:” The guys do the hard work in order for me to finish that off, so at times it is an easy job.
“We are all doing our best to contribute to the team and nothing will be different this weekend. We have some new faces and some new combinations, but the effort will not be new, we will still play for the greater good of the team. Every time I get the ball, whether in space or not, I want to make the work of the guys next to me pay off.”
Soyizwapi tasted victory in various tournaments across the world, but for Visser, that has not happened since making his debut in Dubai last year.
Visser won the FNB Varsity Cup with Tuks in 2016, but a first Blitzboks win will not be unwanted and unwelcome.
“We are getting there – the effort is good and the energy is there,” said Visser.
“The more experienced guys in the squad do help a lot to remind us about the standards and we are working hard to get to that final match. Just like I saw Las Vegas and the lights for the first time, that first time in a final is coming.
“I have dreamt of playing for the Blitzboks and playing in finals, singing the national anthem. Not all of those things have come true yet, but it is only a matter of time, I believe. The guys have worked hard and we are pretty focussed to deliver our best performance of the series.”