Experience alone is not enough for BlitzBoks
SEVENS SPOTLIGHT: There are some good deposits in the memory banks of the Springbok Sevens players preparing for the Sevens tournament in Chester this weekend, but that alone will not get them over the advantage line or put points on the board.
For that to happen, the BlitzBoks will need to “play a bit of rugby and get the game plan and game management right”, according to Dylan Sage, SA Rugby Sevens Player of the Year and team captain for this short tour to England.
Sage is only one of a number of BlitzBoks who have experienced successive World Rugby Sevens Series titles and also a bronze medal at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018, but feels it starts all over again for the squad and their goals for the 2019/20 Series.
“Yes, we have those memories and they were great, but this trip is to start laying the foundation for this year,” said Sage.
“We had four, five weeks on the training field and this will be a first time for us to play some rugby and find each other again in our game plans and plays.
“Everyone is pretty excited and keen to get going and that is a good sign. Some of the squad had their first run in Kenya last weekend and this is now our turn to get going. We want to lay a good foundation to take into the first two tournaments of the year in Dubai and Cape Town.
“The experience of the squad will help to get us going quickly,” according to Sage.
The experience of what is needed to succeed will help another returnee to the squad, Ruhan Nel, to make the transition back to sevens rugby again. Nel last played for the BlitzBoks at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco in July last year.
“It becomes very dark on the Sevens field very quickly,” Nel remembers with a smile.
“It will be a physical and mental challenge getting back out there, but it’s something I want to do. There is nowhere to hide on a Sevens pitch, so your fitness levels need to be very high. You must be prepared to give everything you have, even when the tank is empty.”
Nel is not only keen to share the field with Sage and a host of former BlitzBoks teammates, but also facing some old foes from the likes of England, USA and Spain.
“Yes, I have not played against them in a while, so that will be a good test. You want to be tested in these tournaments to see where you are as a squad and where potential weaknesses in the system are, so it will be great from that perspective. We hope to get into our stride early,” said the outside centre who toured with the Springboks to Europe a year ago.