Sudden death excites Blitzbok speedster

Muller du Plessis says the knockout format of the Sevens Rugby World Cup will inject an adrenaline boost that is sure to fire up teams and spectators alike.

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The tournament is set to get under way on Friday and will conclude on Sunday with no room for error as a single defeat means elimination.

With their best showing coming in Hong Kong in 1997, when they finished runners-up after succumbing to Fiji in the final, the Blitzboks have never won a Sevens Rugby World Cup and the pressure will be amplified given their recent poor stint in Los Angeles.

Speaking to IOL Sport, Du Plessis claimed the novelty of the format levels the playing field and the extra adrenaline factor will ramp up the excitement levels.

“It is obviously different to any other tournament we have played in, but the good thing is that it is new to all the teams,” Du Plessis said.

“I like the format. I think the fans maybe would have liked to see six games, though. We play one match on Friday, one on Saturday and two on Sunday … that’s going to be nice, having two matches lined up, but we are going to be switched on.

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“I think the fact that there are only four matches is exciting; it means you have to give your all in just four matches. But it is going to require a lot of focus – you can’t make mistakes, you can’t let anything slip.”

A gold medal finish at this year’s Commonwealth games produced great expectations for the Rugby World Cup, especially with Cape Town playing host, but prospects were dampened when the Blitzboks slumped to a group-stage exit during the Los Angeles leg and in the process let their No 1 position slip to the Wallabies, who would go on to be crowned World Series winners.

“Luckily, we know what went wrong, and we also know what went wrong at the Commonwealth Games. One was good, and one was a bit poorer, but it’s nothing major, we know what we need to work on to get it right,” Du Plessis said.

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“We need to play as a team and implement the plan, we need to give the effort. This is a new tournament, it’s in Cape Town, so the emotions are even higher. That makes it even more important to pull closer as a team and to play as one.”

Photo: @Blitzboks/Twitter

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