Du Preez: 'Hong Kong has not seen the best of us'
REACTION: Branco du Preez, South Africa’s most capped Blitzbok, says the world has not seen the best of the Springbok Sevens team in Hong Kong yet.
Du Preez, who has 82 tournaments in the World Series under his belt, is also the player with the most tournament wins in a Blitzboks jersey, and he is adamant that they can add another this weekend, where they will face France, Great Britain and Uruguay in pool B action.
The Blitzboks have reigned supreme all over the world, winning trophies regularly across the globe in the World Rugby Sevens Series, yet never so in Hong Kong. This is something Du Preez feels can change this weekend.
“Yes, the world has not seen the best of us here in Hong Kong, we need to change that,” Du Preez said.
“We still need to show the world we can win this. Yes, we came close a couple of times, but I do believe we can do this – especially if we focus on a team effort and eliminate the small errors in our game,” said the Blitzboks veteran.
A number of his team mates have not run out at the iconic Hong Kong Stadium, nor play in the very popular event which as last staged in 2019 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Du Preez, however, will be playing in his 10th tournament at the famous venue and he has some sound advice for his team members.
“The stadium is really close to the field, so one can get side-tracked easily. I would say to them ‘don’t get star-struck, stay in the game.’
Du Preez and the Blitzboks will arrive in Hong Kong with a new coaching regime consisting of head coach Sandile Ngcobo and his assistant Philip Snyman, who will be first-time coaches in the tournament that will also kick-start the 2022/23 World Series.
“Yes, we have a new coaching team, but the players have been around for a while now and so I believe they should not be overawed by the occasion. It will be important for us to understand what the coaches want to achieve at the tournament and then buy into that. If we do, we should be fine,” reckons Du Preez.
He emphasised that the Blitzboks are keen to get the season underway in a positive way: “My feeling is that we need a good start and things will happen for us after. We should never be comfortable with achievements of the past an so we need to build a good innings this year and we have a fresh start here in Hong Kong. If we do that, then I believe we can be successful,” reckons Du Preez, who has kicked a record 464 conversions in his Blitzboks career.
The Blitzboks fixtures this coming weekend in Hong Kong are (SA times):
Friday 4 November
Saturday 5 November
07h10 Great Britain