Family fuels Blitzboks’ World Cup charge

Selvyn Davids and Impi Visser both fought back the tears when asked about the Blitzboks playing in front of their family and friends at this weekend’s Sevens World Cup in Cape Town. DYLAN JACK reports.

The Blitzboks will have a unique opportunity to play at a home World Cup with many of their family members and friends sitting in what is expected to be a capacity crowd at Cape Town Stadium.

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It’s something that many teams may take for granted but for the Blitzboks, who play the majority of their games overseas, being able to represent the country in front of their families is a privilege.

“Yeah, it’s big. My family is one of the big reasons that I am here today,” said an emotional Davids at a media conference on Thursday. “Especially my mom, who gave up a lot for me. I always get emotional when I think and talk about this … it means everything that my family can watch me play.”

Big forward Visser explained further what this meant to the Blitzboks.

“You can see that Selvyn’s getting a bit emotional. I am getting a bit of a lump in my throat,” said Visser “For anybody who is going to be playing this weekend, it’s big. I don’t think we fully realise how big it is and maybe only after the weekend will we fully realise it.

“To have your family there is very special. Whether you have the privilege of having both parents there, a brother or a sister or an aunt, it’s big.

“The rand is a bit weak, so they can’t come watch us overseas, it’s a bit difficult,” Visser added with a chuckle. “It’s a massive privilege to have your family here.”

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The Blitzboks will be the first national team to represent South Africa at a home World Cup since the Springboks in 1995, a fact that is not lost on the players.

“It’s an incredible opportunity, just how big it is,” said Visser. “If we are successful, just to think about what it would mean for this country, what it would mean for each and every player …

“Only a few of us were born by 1995, some of us weren’t even in our parents’ plans. It’s just incredible to have something like this at home and for us to be the team to represent the country. Each and every guy will use that as motivation, just to go out and give everything and do the nation proud.”

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With everything going into this weekend, one would assume that the pressure on the Blitzboks would be immense.

“Pressure? I don’t think there’s any pressure, only opportunities,” said Davids.

Visser expanded on Davids’ comment, adding that the Blitzboks are used to being put under the pump at training.

“Pressure is the nature of this game. If you can’t handle the pressure, you shouldn’t be playing at this level. It’s something that we are used to week in, week out. We train in a high-pressure environment. It’s not game situations, but we push each other to the very limit. We use that pressure as motivation, you turn it around, you take it, you let it fuel you.

“Just the noise in the ground is going to be something that fuels us this weekend. It’s going to be an incredible atmosphere. Only a handful of us have played in Cape Town, so in that first game, those guys who haven’t are really going to feel the atmosphere of the stadium. It’s going to be incredible.”

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Photo: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

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