Blitzbok forward Ryan Oosthuizen is aiming to take his chance and prove his Olympic ability when the team plays at the Los Angeles Sevens this weekend.
The Blitzboks hit the USA with a number of players looking to prove themselves to be included in the squad that will play at the Tokyo Olympic Games later this year.
Oosthuizen was barely out of school at Paarl Gymnasium when the 2016 Rio Olympics came around. At that stage, he was plugging away as an outside centre for the Western Province age-group teams, but come Tokyo 2020, he will be hoping to live his dream in Japan.
‘Coach Neil planned to give everyone a fair opportunity to stake a claim for the Olympics,’ he said.
‘I play in a pretty competitive position, with guys such as Kwagga Smith and JC Pretorius also around, so I need to make sure I make it as hard as possible for the coach not to select me.
‘The fact that the Hong Kong and Singapore tournaments have been postponed until after the Olympics has limited the opportunities to impress even more, so this weekend will be an important one for me.’
After a mixed tour of Australasia, where the Blitzboks finished in ninth place in Hamilton before bouncing back and finishing as cup finalists in Sydney, the team will be hoping for consistency this weekend.
Oosthuizen missed out on the previous two tournaments in Hamilton and Sydney as part of the rotational policy set out by Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell as part of his planning for the Olympic Games, but the part-time law student looks set to hit 100 matches and 100 points in Los Angeles.
‘It is another opportunity to contribute to a team that means so much to me,’ Oosthuizen said. ‘Nothing makes you realise how special it is to play for the Blitzboks than having to watch them play on television or from the sidelines. It is such a privilege and honour to play for such a team with so many great players.
‘We play best when everyone contributes and you trust the guy next to you.
‘There was a slight hiccup in Hamilton and that resulted in a bad slip-up [the Blitzboks finished ninth]. The guys bounced back nicely in Sydney and now we have another opportunity to continue with that here in Los Angeles.’