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Blitzbok captain Siviwe Soyizwapi. Picture: DAVID VAN DER SANDT/GALLO IMAGES
Blitzbok captain Siviwe Soyizwapi. Picture: DAVID VAN DER SANDT/GALLO IMAGES

It took them a while to get to Toulouse, but since their arrival on Monday evening, the Springbok Sevens team left little to chance for the remainder of the week. They go into Friday’s opening day of the HSBC France Sevens, at the Stade Ernest-Wallon, with the knowledge of being prepared and capable to retain their slender six-point lead at the top of the standings in the World Rugby Sevens Series.

The last-minute setback in Cape Town, when Selvyn Davids was withdrawn on medical grounds, is in the past and his replacement and Springbok Sevens debutant, Dalvon Blood, slotted in seamlessly as the team went through their paces.

The Blitzboks start the Toulouse tournament, the seventh in the 2022 series, on the back of some wobbly performances in the previous leg of the tour, where they — as defending champions in both events — finished seventh in Singapore and fifth in Vancouver.

They will face Ireland, Spain and Samoa in Pool D. Captain Siviwe Soyizwapi said their pool for the weekend was similar to the one they played in Canada, where they lost to Samoa in the Cup quarterfinals.

“We will play similar types of teams again,”  Soyizwapi said. “We had Samoa and Spain in Vancouver and play Ireland this time as well.

“They are all good teams in our pool, so we are looking towards a very competitive weekend. Spain showed us how well they can keep the ball alive in our previous encounter and we will not take them lightly.

“Ireland have been doing very well in recent times and have been together as a team for a while now, so they are formidable opponents.

“Samoa’s physicality proved a challenge for us last time around, so we need to be better when we face them this weekend. We have prepared well, though, and are looking forward to the weekend.

“We trained well since we arrived here and I loved the attitude the players showed during those sessions, especially our defence session. That is normally our toughest session of the week and the guys really came through that well, so we are ready to play.”

The Toulouse tournament could also provide a significant milestone to Branco Du Preez, already SA’s most capped player who has won more World Series tournaments than any other South African. He is in line to score his 100th World Series try for the Blitzboks.

Du Preez, who is playing in his 80th tournament, has 400 games under his belt and scored no fewer than 1,409 points in the green and gold. Among those are 99 tries and the sweeper/scrumhalf is well aware of that elusive 100th.

Match schedule:

Friday May 20: 12pm: Ireland; 6.28pm: Spain

Saturday May 21: 12.22pm: Samoa

SA Rugby

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