Blitzboks eager to break Hong Kong duck

Philip Snyman wants to make his first appearance as Blitzboks captain a memorable one at the Hong Kong Sevens.

The Blitzboks are yet to win this event, but with six consecutive finals in the 2016-17 World Rugby Sevens Series, they believe they can make history this weekend.

South Africa face tough matches against France on Friday and Kenya and Canada on Saturday.

There are two 19-year-olds in the squad, Stedman Gans and Zain Davids, and a debutant in Selvyn Davids.

'Stedman and Zain have seen what it’s all about in the last couple of tournaments, so they know what’s needed to contribute positively,' said Snyman, who will make a sixth visit to Hong Kong since his debut for the Blitzboks in 2009. 'I am also pretty excited on behalf of Selvyn, as he really has some serious weapons in his arsenal and definitely has that X factor that could stand the team in good stead.'

The Blitzboks are without injured key players Kyle Brown, Justin Geduld, Rosco Speckman and Stephan Dippenaar, while Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga Smith are now playing Super Rugby. Snyman, though, sees these changes as positives.

'You have to grow as a team during the year anyway and adapt here and there in order to progress your game,' he said. 'We had to make a tweak or two, but the fundamentals stayed the same. If we stick to our system and structure like we have done in the last couple of months, the rewards will be there for us.'

If everything goes according to script, either Fiji or New Zealand – both of whom have dominated this tournament in the past two decades – could await the South Africans in the Cup quarter-finals.

'They both have awesome records at this tournament, but we are not looking at potential quarter-finals yet,' said Snyman. 'We dare not look past France for our first match on Friday, so our focus will be on a strong start on day one. We are very keen to win here, but to do that we need to keep it simple, believe in our structures and game plan.'

Photo: Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt