Blitzboks must salvage their season in Sydney
Victory in the fourth leg is essential to retaining title
The Blitzboks arrived in Sydney on Monday knowing that to keep alive realistic hopes of retaining their HSBC World Sevens Series title‚ victory in the fourth leg of the season is crucial.
After finishing fourth in the Hamilton leg last weekend, the Blitzboks are 13 points behind log leaders Fiji and the US, and closing that gap would almost certainly mean winning in Australia.
“We need to forget about Hamilton and start afresh here in Sydney‚” said midfielder Werner Kok.
“We have to clear the minds‚ warm the hearts and make sure SA is proud of us at the end of the weekend. We have a week to fix things and we need to use the time to do that.”
Kok admitted they have lost a lot of experience‚ but believes the effort and output of the Blitzbok team should be consistent‚ regardless of the personnel.
“There are less experienced guys in the squad this time around‚ but that does not change our attitude of making the country proud‚” said Kok.
“The quality of guys such as Rosko Specman‚ Ruhan Nel and Dylan Sage were undisputed and you don’t replace players like them overnight. It does not have to be a deterrent to the younger guys, though.
“You train hard‚ hoping to get the chance once an experienced player is not there anymore. That is the opportunity for the next guy.”
Kok had stern words for the squad after the Hamilton tournament: “It was disappointing how we played at times. Some basics were not adhered to, and that is something you cannot do.
“It is about the squad‚ but it will start with each individual taking ownership of the mistakes and then going out there to rectify them and make sure they do not happen again‚” he said.
But for now‚ they are looking towards the Sydney tournament and the rest of the series. “It is still early in the series‚ but we need to start stepping up,” said Kok.
The Blitzboks face Australia‚ Argentina and Tonga in Pool D of the event to be held at Spotless Stadium on February 2 and 3.