Cecil Afrika says the Blitzboks have to embrace their opportunities at the Vancouver Sevens this weekend.
The Springbok Sevens team battled into the playoffs, where they beat the USA and New Zealand before staging a miracle comeback to beat Fiji in the Cup final at the Los Angeles Sevens last weekend.
As a result of that tournament victory, South Africa are now second in World Series standings, just four points behind log leaders New Zealand.
Heading into the Vancouver Sevens, the Blitzboks – who are the defending champions at this tournament – should be riding a wave of confidence. But Afrika says that is not the case because they did not have a single perfect performance in Los Angeles.
‘We need to take ownership of what happens on the field. It is important to analyse where we made mistakes and why and how to solve them,’ Afrika commented.
‘By analysing our games, one also gets a better understanding of what plays work best and in which positions on the field, so it is an important aspect of our preparation for the weekend.
‘We did not have a perfect match in LA, so this review probed the reasons. There were some honest and brutal exchanges, especially on the defensive effort, but we were all prepared to own up and that made it a very productive session.’
‘Last week is gone, this tournament is one that provides us with so many opportunities and that is what we must embrace and exploit. It starts with the off-the-field stuff first – being on time for example – and if that is done well, the on-field stuff will fall in place too.’
Afrika lauded the younger players’ contribution to the team’s cause, saying the next generation of Blitzboks are setting the world alight and keeping the older players like himself on their toes.
‘They certainly keep me on my toes, they are such a talented group, so you need to be at your best just to keep up,’ he added.
Afrika has scored 1452 points for the Blitzboks, via 177 tries, 282 conversions and a penalty goal. He is now is just two tries away from equalling Fabian Juries’ try tally of 179.
At the moment, Seabelo Senatla holds the record as the Blitzboks’ all-time top try-scorer with 230 tries, followed by Juries and Afrika.
Blitzboks pool fixtures at Vancouver Sevens:
vs Japan (Saturday, 08:06pm)
vs Argentina (Saturday, 11:18pm)
vs England (Sunday, 02:30am)