Blitzboks to ‘play with joy’ in London

Rosco Speckman says the Blitzboks will look to express themselves at the London Sevens this weekend.

South Africa clinched the World Rugby Sevens Series when they won their fifth tournament in Paris last weekend and will officially be crowned champions on Sunday.

Speckman believes this will provide motivation for the team to give it one more push.

'The pressure to win the series is gone, but we are still under pressure from ourselves to deliver a performance to be proud about,' he said. 'I think, though, we will also be out to celebrate our successes this year by expressing ourselves and play with joy.'

Last year, the Blitzboks came to Twickenham still within the grasp of the overall series title, but Fiji gained enough points to retain it. South Africa made the final, but suffered a heart-breaking loss when Scotland scored the winning points after the final hooter.

'That was very disappointing yes, we felt terrible,' said Speckman. 'But that was also the start of us making finals, and we learned from that experience. So although we lost that one, we learned valuable lessons that helped us win five finals out of eight since.'

The Grahamstown-raised player has often swung the momentum of tight matches towards South Africa with his attacking prowess and was named Player of the Final in Las Vegas.

'Those accolades are great, but it remains a team effort. I will still want to go out and make the tournament's Dream Team, but my responsibilities within our structures will come first.' said Speckman, who has scored 17 tries this season, including a spectacular one against New Zealand in the semi-final of the Paris Sevens last weekend.

Blitzboks’ Saturday schedule (SA times):
12:20 vs Kenya
15:26 vs Wales
18:32 vs USA

Stats and facts:
• Cecil Afrika could extend his South African record for career points in the series. He is currently on 1,273.
• Branco du Preez could extend his South African record for career conversions in the series. He is currently on 327.
• Marco Labuschagne will make his debut for the Springbok Sevens team, should he take to the field.
• South Africa could win a record sixth tournament title in one season should they be victorious in London.
• South Africa has won the London Sevens on two previous occasions, in 2005 and 2011.

Blitzboks squad (tournaments and points):
1. Chris Dry (61; 450)
2. Philip Snyman (captain, 46; 291)
3. Dylan Sage (16; 95)
4. Ryan Oosthuizen (3, 0)
5. Werner Kok (28; 345)
6. Siviwe Soyizwapi (11; 155)
7. Branco du Preez (54; 1043)
8. Sandile Ngcobo (5; 20)
9. Dewald Human (1; 2)
10. Cecil Afrika (52; 1273)
11. Rosko Specman (20; 258)
12. Ruhan Nel (20; 172)
13. Marco Labuschagne (0, 0)*
*Reserve player

Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Post by

Simon Borchardt