NEWS ARTICLES
Blitzboks refuse to rest on laurels
May 17, 2017
They are still playing with the same objectives in mind as before, so there is no reason why the Springbok Sevens team will take anything for granted when the HSBC London Sevens kicks off at Twickenham on Saturday.

That is the opinion of two of the Blitzboks’ speedsters, Ruhan Nel and Siviwe Soyizwapi, as the South Africans prepare for the tenth and final tournament of the HSBC World Rugby Series in London.

The Blitzboks have clinched the overall series title already by winning the HSBC Paris Sevens last weekend, but they are still driven by desire and team values, says Nel, who celebrated his 26th birthday in England's capital on Wednesday.

“We are still playing for what that Springbok on the chest represents,” said Nel.

“That means 100% dedication and commitment, 100% of the time. Nothing has changed because we won the series, we are still the same team who want to make the country proud and do the system justice.”

According to Nel, who was one of the leading tacklers in Paris, the team structure allows players to be at their best.

“For me to make those tackles it meant that I felt my back was covered and that is what we are hoping to do as a team,” explained Nel, who is in line to play in his 100th match for the Blitzboks in London.

“Everyone will be stepped or beaten, but knowing there will be someone to back you up gives the confidence to go in hard.”

The winger missed last year's London tournament due to a shoulder injury and is pretty keen to enjoy the Twickenham experience.

“The feeling in camp is good. The first couple of days are generally a bit slower as recovery takes priority and we will pick up the intensity as the tournament gets closer,” said Nel.

“The pressure has been relieved a bit knowing that we have won the overall series, but we still want to finish well, as that was one of our objectives from the start. The guys are in a good space now.”

Soyizwapi, known as “Shakes” by his team-mates, agreed with Nel: "Everyone in the squad is feeling positive and is in a good head space at the moment.

“After that great tournament in Paris where we improved game by game and then clinched the title and the overall series, the guys are really feeling good. Having said that, it will not mean anything come this weekend. We will have to start over again and again play to the standards we have set.”

Soyizwapi, a product of the SA Rugby Academy in the Eastern Cape, is pretty aware that the Blitzboks will have a target on their backs as the new champions.

“We will have a very tough pool,” said Soyizwapi, who has scored 25 tries during the season.

“Kenya, Wales and the USA are all class teams and they will not make it easy for us. It will be a testing day Saturday as there are no easy games out there anymore and those three are all tough opponents. We will have to stick to our process and structures to be successful.”

MATCH CENTRE
FIXTURES
     
RESULTS
     
Vodacom Super Rugby
Friday, July 21 2017
11:35 - Brumbies vs Hurricanes
GIO Stadium, Canberra
Saturday, July 22 2017
14:30 - Emirates Lions vs Cell C Sharks
Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Friday, July 28 2017
00:00 - Winner QF1 vs Winner QF2
Saturday, July 29 2017
00:00 - Winner QF3 vs Winner QF4
Saturday, August 05 2017
00:00 - Winner SF1 vs Winner SF2
The Castle Lager Rugby Championship
Saturday, August 19 2017
17:05 - South Africa vs Argentina
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, PE
Saturday, August 26 2017
21:40 - Argentina vs South Africa
Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena, Salta
Saturday, September 09 2017
12:05 - Australia vs South Africa
NIB Stadium, Perth
Saturday, September 16 2017
09:35 - New Zealand vs South Africa
QBE Stadium, Albany, North Harbour
Saturday, September 30 2017
17:05 - South Africa vs Australia
Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein

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