Returning duo Sako Makata and Mfundo Ndhlovu know what they need to do to add value to the Blitzboks’ cause at the Los Angeles Sevens this coming weekend.
Makata is back in the tournament squad for the first time since June last year and Ndhlovu, the official reserve, also last played in Paris in 2019.
Makata, who incidentally made his World Sevens Series debut in Las Vegas a year ago, says getting back into the match-day squad is a relief as well as a blessing and that his second visit to the USA brings calm and determination to comply with his role and responsibility within the squad.
‘I am excited to be back and that comes from some hard work behind the scenes, doing rehab and getting back to match fitness. I am pretty keen to contribute on the field now and give it my best shot,’ he said.
‘I watched the guys in my position in particular and what they were doing and what I would have done if I was in that situation.’
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‘I’m learning all the time and that worked for me, trying to put myself in their boots. There is often a different perspective from the outside and being in that match situation yourself and combining the two makes you better, I believe.
‘The importance, though, is grabbing this opportunity and showing that I can contribute to the squad and the system this weekend.’
Ndhlovu, who was selected as the player on standby for the Los Angeles and Vancouver tournaments, was more prosaic, describing his comeback as ‘food for the soul’.
‘I am a religious person and believe that God will determine my destiny. I had some setbacks along the line with injury, but that made me stronger and more determined. It is great being back and I am taking in all of the experience and expertise from the senior guys,’ he explained.
‘I certainly missed out on valuable game time in the last two years, but that was God’s plan for me, and I accept that. I am blessed to still be here and would like to make the most of the opportunities that will still come my way.’
The Springbok Sevens team has been drawn in Pool B for the Los Angeles Sevens, alongside Kenya, Canada and Ireland.
Photo: Melissa Lear Photography