Get Newsletter

VIDEO: He almost missed the celebration

REACTION: It took him six tournaments to get there, but when Masande Mtshali finally scored his first try in a BlitzBok jersey in Dubai, the 20-year-old forward almost missed this very significant milestone in his short Sevens career.

ADVERTISEMENT

The BlitzBoks are well-known for mobbing a player when he scores his first try, but for Mtshali, it was different as he seemed oblivious to what normally follows.

He raced to pick up the ball he left behind the try line, passed it to Ronald Brown for the conversion and raced back to the halfway line for the next play, almost outsprinting those who came to celebrate with him.

* Can the BlitzBoks go back-to-back in Cape Town? Get your TICKETS HERE to see if they can do it!

(The article continues below the video of the try and Mtshali interview …)

The try was sublime.

Trailing New Zealand by five points (14-19) in their Pool A decider, Selvyn Davids caught the Kiwis napping from a restart.

He put in a grubber and retrieved the ball himself, but the New Zealand defence illegally played the scrumhalf.

Davids took the quick tap and set off towards the try line. He found Brown in support, who found Mtshali on a superb line, with the former Junior Bok wing racing through to score under the sticks.

ADVERTISEMENT

Suddenly the scores were tied and Brown’s conversion, with time running out, sealed a first victory over the Kiwis in five outings.

The next day, Mtshali was at it again. In their semifinal against Fiji, scores were tied at 7-all late in the match. Rosko Specman kicked ahead and a good chase followed, with Mtshali leading the charge. The Fijian sweeper fumbled and Mtshali was in for his second match-winner.

The former Grey High School learner said he did not even realise when he scored how crucial the try was.

“I did not know that we were going ahead after that play,” he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“That is why I rushed back to get into position for the restart.

“Only then did I realise that we are ahead on the scoreboard.

“Scoring my first try against New Zealand was also special, as they are the current series champions and had one over us in the last couple of matches.

“That was a good feeling, I have worked hard to make the team and the try was a good reward.”

The try against Fiji was against the run of play, but equally important, and Mtshali said he really enjoyed playing with players with fantastic vision.

“That kick by Rosko was a brilliant option and we delivered a good chase that resulted in the try that won us the game,” he said.

“Again, it was a team effort. But I will claim the try and it means that I have two in the bag now and looking for much, much more.”

Mtshali’s heroics, coupled with the sublime performance delivered by Quewin Nortje, justified the bravery in the selection of head coach Sandile Ngcobo, who indicated the need for younger recruits into the BlitzBok system.

Another 2023 Junior Springbok, Katlego Letebele, made his debut in Dubai and although his playing time was limited, he gained massive experience on what HSBC SVNS is all about.

Credit is due to the management of the BlitzBoks, who recovered from a tough couple of months, in which the team only won 12 of 30 matches, but six out of six in Dubai showed that a ticket for the HSBC SVNS Cape Town could just become the hottest ticket in town again.

CT 7s pools - men

CT 7s Pool - women

Join free

Beyond 80 | Episode 3

Japan Rugby League One | Bravelupus v Eagles | Full Match Replay

Big Jim Show | Guinness Six Nations | England v Scotland

Vancouver SVNS - Day 2 - Full Replay

Vancouver SVNS - Day 1 - Full Replay

Boks Office | Jesse Kriel reveals the hardest team he had to play at the Rugby World Cup

Big Jim Walks and Talks with Handré Pollard

WHISTLEBLOWERS

Write A Comment