Springbok Sevens player Werner Kok is still coming to grips with winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, reports BRENTON CHELIN.
The Blitzboks succeeded on Sunday evening where all before them had failed, seeing off New Zealand 17-12 in a pulsating final at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Less than 24 hours after that monumental final effort, Kok spoke to SARugbymag.co.za about the final and how it feels to be a Commonwealth champion.
'I can't actually find words for it,' said Kok. 'The realisation only kicked in this morning that we'd won gold. Jislaaik, it's an amazing feeling.'
Heading into the final all the talk was of New Zealand's 30-match unbeaten run, this despite the Blitzboks being the form team in Glasgow.
'[Coach] Neil Powell told us to keep smiling and to be relaxed, to just enjoy the occasion. We've played New Zealand a lot and we know how they play. He told us the final will look after itself if we just go out there and enjoy ourselves and play like we had done throughout the tournament, and that's what we did.'
The Blitzboks coped well despite losing their influential captain Kyle Brown early on in the decider. It was a blow, says Kok, but one that they were able to overcome thanks to other players at their disposal.
'He's a great leader, who sets an example to the guys. We missed his words of wisdom on the field, but Frankie Horne took over and he helped calm the nerves. Kwagga Smith filled his boots well, he made a big difference for us. Each and every guy had to do their bit for the team and in the end that was the difference.'
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum New Zealand captain DJ Forbes was understandably downbeat about his team's lacklustre performance.
'I guess we're beatable,' Forbes told Stuff.co.nz as New Zealand's Commonwealth Games record slipped to 30-1. 'Just little errors, we had nine guys who were never in this environment before; it's a massive learning curve and they will get a lot out of it. We've got some schoolboys who are pretty hurt so this will really test the character.'
The Blitzboks benefited from the inclusion of Cornal Hendricks and Warren Whiteley for the tournament and All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has hinted that the Kiwis might follow suit in a bid to compete at Rio 2016.
'It's a pretty important occasion, the Olympics, and we've unfortunately been beaten for the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games,' Hansen said. 'We have to make sure we get the right policies in place to support that so it doesn't affect the bigger picture, but we need to support it. The process has already started.'
Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images