Blitzboks embrace pressure

Captain Philip Snyman says there will be a target on the Blitzboks' backs when they go hunting their third title of the season in Sydney this weekend.

South Africa beat Fiji last Sunday to claim their first title in New Zealand since 2002. While the Blitzboks now enjoy a good lead at the top of the World Rugby Sevens Series log, Snyman said the team remains hungry for success in Sydney.

'We have a saying in the team of always getting back to the middle,' said Snyman.

'Whether you had a good loss or a bad win, it does not make a difference, you have to start again with a fresh mind and attitude. Your start with the basics and try and do those right.'

Snyman pointed to the fact that South Africa failed to make the final in Sydney last year, and that they are keen to improve on that.

'It will not be easy, teams will be gunning for us and we will have a target on our backs,' said the Blitzbok captain.

'We played well in Wellington, but the performances were in no means perfect. We have plenty of areas to improve on and will work hard in training to make the adjustments needed.'

The team defended very well in Wellington, conceding only four tries in six matches, but Snyman said even that can improve: 'We are always striving for zero tries conceded, so we need to lift the intensity even higher.'

Sydney will be the last appearance in the current series for stalwarts Kwagga Smith and Seabelo Senatla, who will join their Super Rugby franchises when the team returns to South Africa on Monday.

Snyman sees the positives in this, though. 'They are great players and great guys and will be missed for now. At least we have one more tournament to play with them, so we will try and make it special for all of us.'

Smith (Lions) and Senatla (Stormers) will now focus on fifteens and will in future only play in selected tournaments for the Blitzboks.

Photo: Gallo Images

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Jon Cardinelli