Blitzbok playmaker Justin Geduld will play his 35th World Series tournament in London this weekend‚ traditionally the threshold equivalent to 50 caps in fifteens.
It’s a special milestone for one of the team’s lynchpins‚ but the task that faces the Blitzboks in their quest to overhaul Fiji at the top of the standings means personal milestones must be put aside.
The Blitzboks have two tournaments remaining to erase a four-point deficit to retain their World Series title and it’s as serious as it gets at Twickenham this weekend.
“I never expected to join such a distinguished group of players who also achieved this. It is a humbling experience‚” said Geduld‚ who has scored 787 points in 124 matches for the Blitzboks.
“In the beginning‚ my dream was just to make the team‚ so to still be here is massive for me. I will certainly enjoy this experience. I just want to express myself and contribute to the team effort.”
Captain Philip Snyman believes the team have enjoyed a confidence boost with the return of leading try-scorer Seabelo Senatla‚ but that budging ahead of Fiji will require a weekend of near perfection.
“We have a number of old hands who have been here before‚ some exciting younger faces with their energy‚ and then off course‚ we have Seabelo Senatla back for the last two tournaments‚” Snyman said.
“So there is a nice balance in the squad.”
Snyman himself is back after missing the Hong Kong and Singapore tournaments and he believes the Blitzboks will deliver a very competitive effort.
“Guys like Ruhan (Nel)‚ Justin (Geduld) and Branco (du Preez) missed those tournaments‚ so like myself‚ are very keen to get back and contribute. We are delighted to have Seabelo back and watching him at training in the last week or so‚ he is ready to go. He was a World Sevens Player of the Year and it is clear why‚ so we have a lot of confidence in his abilities.”
Coach Neil Powell said the hard work in the build-up to this weekend’s tournament was done back in Stellenbosch and applauded the energy and effort this week in London.
“We had a bigger group of players in Stellenbosch and the guys really pushed each other for spot in the squad‚” said Powell.
“We did some good work there. I am pleased with our efforts here as well. The likes of Justin‚ Branco (du Preez)‚ Ruhan (Nel) and Philip (Snyman) are keen to play again and that bodes well. They need to go out and enjoy themselves.”
Powell is aware of the log and the fact that Fiji are slightly ahead.
“We are not looking at that‚ but will focus on our game. We are aware of the log positions‚ but the only way to change that is to go out and play our best.”
The Springbok Sevens fixtures for Day One (SA times):
The Springbok Sevens fixtures for Day One is: (SA times)
by Craig Ray – TimesLIVE