Photo by Mike Lee KLC Photos
Twice last season Siviwe Soyizwapi – as stand-in captain – took the Blitzboks onto the podium and lifted trophies in Vancouver and Singapore.
So, when the winger speaks about “bringing all the parts together”, Soyizwapi is referring to what was done right in those two weeks and what the Springbok Sevens squad will need to do this weekend when they open their HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series campaign in Dubai on Friday.
The new captain officially took over the armband from Philip Snyman at the start of the 2019/20 season and hopes to respond to the new responsibility in the same way he did when he became the team’s main strike weapon out wide, and duly dotted down 89 times in 28 tournaments.
“This is a strong group of players, not only in skills and talent, but also leadership,” said Soyizwapi.
“We have a variety of skilful players in the squad, some playmakers, some steppers and some deadly finishers. If it all comes together in this group, we will be successful.
“We said we just wanted to unite as a group and execute as a group. We have a lot that we want to try and a lot of stuff we have worked on, so if we can do that together as a group, we will be strong.”
Soyizwapi points to the fact that the SA Rugby Sevens Academy will also play at the same venue and points to the talent that that squad.
“I think we are around 36 guys in total competing for the 13 slots available on any given weekend,” he said.
“So, the competition is fierce, but in a good way. We push each other to become better every day and that is a good space to be in as a squad.”
In recent seasons, the Blitzboks’ gave South African rugby supporters many reasons to smile, and with the Springboks having won the Rugby World Cup, Soyizwapi feels they even have more to aspire to.
“In fact, what the Boks did in Japan inspires us to also go out and do great things,” he said. “It was massive for the nation and for us as well. It motivated us and we are keen to keep the South African flag flying high.”
South Africa face Kenya, Spain and England in Pool D of the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens.