Travelling the world and exploring new destinations with smiles on faces are elements one can attribute to the Springbok Sevens team over many seasons of HSBC SVNS, but as they settled into Perth for yet another new stop in the world series, the real purpose for their trip to West Australia was quickly confirmed by Blitzbok captain Selvyn Davids.
“We are not on holiday, we have a job to do,” said Davids as they near the business end of the week, with the inaugural HSBC SVNS Perth kicking off at HBF Park on Friday.
The Blitzboks face Spain and Canada on day one and will meet HSBC SVNS leader, Argentina, on Saturday morning.
“Yes, the travel is a nice part of the World Series and Perth an exciting new destination, but we are not here for a holiday. We arrived with a mission and that is to execute our job to the best of our abilities,” Davids added.
The Blitzbok wizard, who was voted into the Dream Team after the season opener in Dubai, said there is a good mood in the team as they arrived from South Africa.
“We did good work in Stellenbosch and added the finishing touches here in Perth. I was surprised by how windy it was up to now, we expected some heat rather,” said Davids, who added that they have a plan for the tournament, and it is now up to the players to execute.
“The coaches have given us the foundation and how they want us to play. They have done their work. It is now up to us as the players to execute our roles and to do your part of what is expected. If we manage that, we will be close to the podium, which is where we want to end up at the end of the tournament.”
For Springbok Sevens head coach Sandile Ngcobo, the focus goes no further than their first game on the opening day, as he points to the competitive nature of the 2024 series, with not one of the 12 teams undefeated after two rounds.
“This is a very competitive series, as we have seen already, and every opponent will punish you if you don’t execute and are on top of your game,” said Ngcobo.
“We have always focused on that very first game, to lay a foundation and nothing changed in that regard.”
The fact that they start the tournament with two uncapped players in Tristan Leyds and David Brits, and season debuts for James Murphy, Donovan Don and Ricardo Duarttee will make a good start even more important, said Ngcobo.
“Those guys will have to settle in, so the earlier we can get into our stride, the quicker they will settle into their roles and responsibilities,” he said. “And as soon as that happens, we will have momentum.”
The Blitzbok coach added that had no second thoughts in bringing in new personnel: “They are all dynamic players, and this is part of a strategy to build depth and experience. Both debutants played a lot of fifteens at a high level and that means there is a lot of rugby IP already, so they adapted to the game management side of it quickly.”
The reality of a stand-alone tournament means six perfect performances over three days will bring the desired result and Ngcobo is hoping for consistency in the squad’s effort.
“We have shown that once we get into play-offs at tournaments, we can deliver, so for now the focus will be to put us in that position. To get there, we will focus on each of our pool opponents one game at a time,” said Ngcobo.
Blitzbok pool fixtures (SA times, all matches on SuperSport):
Friday, 26 January:
Saturday, 27 January: