Springbok Sevens star JC Pretorius says the team is looking forward to potentially facing Fiji and the All Blacks Sevens, when they return to the World Rugby Sevens Series in Singapore this weekend.
It’s probably fair to say JC Pretorius became a household name for the Blitzboks quite quickly, so much so it’s hard to believe that the 24-year-old has played only 16 tournaments in his Sevens Series career to date.
Pretorius, who has not competed at the Singapore Sevens before, says he is excited to make his debut at the impressive National Stadium in the southeast Asian country this weekend.
“I was injured in 2019 when we last played here and missed out on that trip, so I am pretty keen to have a crack at it here in Singapore,” said Pretorius, who has scored 36 tries in 86 matches wearing the Blitzboks’ green and gold.
“I have played all the regular stops, apart from Singapore and Hong Kong, so it will be good to tick this one off, too. We are blessed to be able to travel the world and play all over representing our country, something that we will never take for granted.”
Pretorius started his career in Sydney in 2019, and the freshfaced youngster quickly showed that he was going to become a big-name player.
When the World Series was cancelled after six tournaments in 2020, Pretorius was duly named in that season’s Dream Team – alongside teammate Selvyn Davids – and since then, he has hardly missed out on being named in the regular tournament Dream Team.
He was named in the Dream Team after the Canada Sevens in Edmonton in September 2021, and again in December 2021, after both Dubai tournaments.
Although it will always be a case of team first for Pretorius, he was not pleased when he missed out on this accolade in both Malaga and Seville during the Spain legs in January.
“I set out some goals for myself this year, as I definitely want to keep improving as a player and by pushing the standards and goals higher and higher, you will get better, I believe. I just want to be the best JC Pretorius I can be.”
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) April 5, 2022
The forward was not alone in this reflection and desire: “We had enough time away from the field to reflect and discuss what we want to achieve and how to get there, as individuals and as a team.
“Luckily, we managed to spend some time with family and loved ones as well, and they also contributed to create a positive mindset,” added Pretorius, who hails from Secunda and was schooled in Middelburg, Mpumalanga.
No reference to the Singapore tournament will be complete without mentioning the participation of New Zealand and Fiji, and for Pretorius it’s no different.
“We are really pleased that they are back, the World Series needs them, as well as Samoa,” he said.
“People were reflecting that our recent successes were without them present, but there was nothing we could do about that, but play our best.
“Now that they are back, we will not change anything, we will still go out and do our processes and implement our gameplan as always.”
Top seeds South Africa will play USA, Canada and Kenya in Pool A of the tournament, which starts on Saturday.
A key part of the @Blitzboks winning formula! ⚙️
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) January 19, 2022
Photo: Christopher Pike/Getty Images