Home Podcast Blitzboks ready to lift the Rugby World Cup Sevens trophy

Blitzboks ready to lift the Rugby World Cup Sevens trophy

by Salaamedia Intern

Cape Town – The Rugby World Cup Sevens is going to take place in Cape Town this week. It is the second biggest tournament in rugby, the first being the 15-man World Cup. With home ground advantage all eyes are on the Blitzboks to secure the trophy.

The Rugby World Cup Sevens is no easy matter. With less players on the rugby field, it provides more room for players to enjoy but it comes with an added cost. Springbok Rugby 7s legend and rugby analyst, Mac Masina, knows exactly how gruelling it can be. It is a task that is far more tough than playing in a 15-man squad.

“Your fitness level needs to be probably ten times higher than a man who’s playing fifteens. That’s one and then secondly, you’ll always need people that are very pacy with the sevens. People that can really just beat players one-on-one. Thirdly it’s just one where you need to acquire the technique of looking after the ball … You basically looking at the skill level that is so [much] high [compared to the fifteens] … Your gearbox needs to be way more fitter than a normal rugby player…”


The Blitzboks chances in the Rugby World Cup Sevens

The Blitzboks enter the Rugby World Cup Sevens after crashing out in the group stage of the season-ending World Rugby Sevens Series tournament that was held in Los Angeles. While it was sad to see them come home defeated, the Blitzboks were suffering from injuries. For Masina, having Cecil Afrika back in the squad is a huge boost for the team.

“He’s a world champion. For me he’s done very well in the Sevens. I’m not quite sure about his fitness level but I know they were not going to be bringing him in this tournament if his fitness level or if his conditioning was not that great. I think that will give them a huge boost in terms of experience because if you’re looking at the squad, there’s quite a few young players that are there.”

The squad is relatively young with Ronald Brown having just eight tournaments under his belt. Sakoyisa Makata and Angelo Davids will be looking to make a good first impression in their first World Cup appearance. This is why Masina believes it is vital to have Afrika’s experience to guide the young players.

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The difference between the Sevens Series and the Sevens World Cup

Although the Sevens Series is also played over three days, teams play multiple tournaments before the winner is announced. One can perform badly in one series but then pick up points in the next and move on. However, you only get one chance in the Rugby World Cup Sevens, explained Masina. If you lose, you are out.

“The World Cup is just a once off. You get knocked out today and you’re down. You’re not going to be having any other chance and of course the prize is bigger. The Series is quite different. You can win the Series this week and then next week when you move to another country you can lose. It’s all about the point system and you will play like ten Series, and you collect points in those in order for you just to win.”

While the format changes, it is unlikely that team strategies will change, explained Masina. It is likely that most teams will come in with the same players who played the Series. The only difference is bringing in players who were previously injured. Things might be tweaked here and there but teams will most likely stick to what they know. Their winning formula.

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The chance of the Blitzboks lifting the trophy 

The Blitzboks have a good chance at the tournament. They are automatically in the round of 16 and will play either Germany or Chile on Friday. For Masina, it is all about the Springboks Sevens controlling their emotions. This will be coach Nick Powell’s last dance with the team and Masina has warned that the team should not let their emotions get the best of them.

“I’m just a little bit worried because I think they will be going into this game very desperately … If you are looking at the young team that is playing, they mustn’t be too emotional about anything … Players tend to be very emotional about it [losing a coach]. If they can take out the emotion out of this, I think we should be okay.”

This could also be the very last time Afrika takes to the field. His last dance with the team as well. The squad will be hoping that the home advantage will lead them to their first ever Rugby World Cup Sevens win. It will be a stunning moment if they can win their first World Cup on home soil.

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