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'I'm playing every tournament as if it will be my last'

SPOTLIGHT: Rosko Specman wants to make every moment count in his BlitzBok jersey this season.

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The first time Specman played at the HSBC SVNS Canada in Vancouver, his teammates included Bryan Habana and Ryan Kankowski, and the Springbok Sevens lost to New Zealand in the final.

The following year, in 2017 in his last appearance at BC Place, the BlitzBoks lost to England in the final. This time around – seven years later – the 34-year-old BlitzBok talisman wants to make it count.

“I am now playing every tournament as if that will be my last for my country and this beloved BlitzBok team, because in reality, it could be,” Specman said from Vancouver, shortly after the team had their first flush out session following a long haul from Cape Town via Frankfurt.

Specman made a belated return to Sevens for the 2024 season after he left the code in 2020 to pursue a Springbok Test cap, which he achieved a year later against Georgia.

“At my age you must enjoy every moment and make it count, in order not to feel sorry afterwards,” said Specman, who made his World Series debut in 2014 in Las Vegas.

“We’ve had an up and down season so far. When we enjoyed it and made it count, like in the tournament opener in Dubai, we were victorious. But in Cape Town and Perth, we did not get the results we had hoped for.”

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Specman did not travel to Perth as he was rested and that added to the anxiety of missing out on opportunities.

“The coaches told me that I will be rested, and I understood their reasons, but it still hurt,” said the BlitzBok speedster.

“It is always a 50/50, you want to be playing every minute of every match, but the knees tell a different story. The upside of me resting was spending time with my wife and family and the fact that I could do some good recovery and fitness work in.

“The flip side is that you are sitting far away from the action and can’t do anything to contribute on the field.”

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The BlitzBoks just came up short against Fiji in the quarterfinals in Perth and for Specman, it was a loss of focus at the wrong time that contributed to the 12-14 defeat.

“We played well in that game and could just as well have won it, but we lost concentration when it mattered,” the veteran said. “The margins on the circuit this season are very small and even the smallest mistake can be punished and cost you the game.”

Specman feels the lessons learned in Perth should be valuable in Vancouver: “Coach Sandile [Ngcobo] and coach Philip [Snyman] have a game plan worked out for every opponent and if we follow that through, the results will come.

“We saw that in Dubai, and I believe we can replicate that result here in Canada. We have a very experienced core of players, and we should be able to execute on the day.”

Specman is keen to add his magic to the laid-out plans: “Our game plan will create space. Everyone must just understand that the ball will create the space, not the man and if we follow that there will be smiles all around at the end of the tournament.”

The Blitzboks have won the Canada Sevens three times and were runners-up twice since the first tournament in March 2016.

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