Mon 5 Sep 2022 | 10:15

The format that favours the BlitzBoks

The format that favours the BlitzBoks
Mon 5 Sep 2022 | 10:15
The format that favours the BlitzBoks
SHARE

INTERVIEW: Few things excite a South African Sevens player more than running out onto the pitch at Cape Town Stadium to the cheer of thousands upon thousands of passionate supporters.

ADVERTISEMENT

For BlitzBok flyer Muller du Plessis, that wait will be over on Friday when South Africa kick-start their World Cup Sevens campaign in a return to their home stadium for the first time since December 2019.

They do not know their opponents yet, as they will play the winner of Chile and Germany in the Round of 16, but that does not matter to Du Plessis.

In fact, he feels that it will work in their favour during their preparations this week.

“Due to the format of the World Cup Sevens and us being one of the top eight seeded teams, we only play in the second round of the tournament,” said Du Plessis, who played in his first and only Cape Town Sevens in 2019.

“For us, it is perfect not knowing whether we will face Germany or Chile, as it will allow us to focus on our own preparations. We know what we need to do and when we focus on our own game and not worry about the opponents, it works best for us.

“It is finally here. We have focussed on each tournament on merit, so the focus was on the World Series first, then the Commonwealth Games and then back to the World Series. Now it is the World Cup Sevens, and it is here, only four days to go.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It is great being back in Cape Town. Ever since we arrived at the hotel with a great reception by the staff, we are feeling the vibe surrounding the World Cup Sevens. It is just amazing to experience, even at this early stage of the tournament. I can just imagine how it will be on Friday when the tournament actually starts.”
* (Continue below …)

Du Plessis has been in fine form since he returned from injury late in May and he was one of the standout players for the BlitzBoks when they clinched the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in July.

“We played very well then and if we can replicate that performance in Cape Town, it will be terrific,” he said.

“We are very privileged to have the World Cup in the Mother City, we have our friends, family and home support around us and that is great.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We have seen what winning such a title can do to make the nation proud and united, so that will be great if we can emulate the great feeling that the 1995 Rugby World Cup win created way back. Playing at home in a natural environment that we are used to is something special and we must utilise that advantage.”

For Du Plessis, playing at home provides motivation rather than added pressure: “Despite where we play, we still go through our processes and structures, which do not change. What does make a difference is doing that in front of friends and family. We do not get that chance often, so we must make the most of it.”

PV: 6
ADVERTISEMENT