Brenden Nell - SuperSport
Morne motivates Blitzbokke
A rousing speech by former Springbok rugby captain Morne du Plessis has set the tone for the BlitzBokke’s assault on the Hong Kong Sevens title this weekend.
Du Plessis did the jersey handover to the team, and inspired them with a motivational speech on playing not only for a title, but for teammates, coaching staff and the rugby supporters of South Africa, setting the tone for the team’s attempt to win their first ever tournament on the Chinese Island.
Coach, Paul Treu told SuperSport.com he was delighted at the focus that Du Plessis’ speech brought to the team, which galvanised their preparation for the week and was the “perfect end” to a tough week for the team in the Hong Kong humidity.
“Morne’s speech was excellent. He told the players to focus on the basics and forget about the fact we’ve never won here. What you put into preparation is what you will get out. He also spoke about how the players should play for each other and what a privilege it is to wear a Springbok jersey,” Treu told SuperSport.com.
“It was a rousing speech and it’s no coincidence that Morne is such a great ambassador for the country. We couldn’t have asked for anyone better.”
With that in mind, Treu is looking towards this weekend’s tournament as a great test of character for his young BlitzBokke team.
Treu’s side will arrive Friday with six debutants for the crown jewel in the HSBC World and while the Blitzbokke may be fresh off an impressive victory in the Las Vegas tournament around a month ago, they certainly won’t have it easy over the extended three-day tournament in the Chinese island.
They open their Pool with a game against Spain, which they should win at a canter, before facing hosts Hong Kong and World Cup holders Wales on Saturday in their remaining fixtures. But Sunday’s Cup competition is what counts, and Treu has been working hard to ensure his team peak when it counts, much like they did in Las Vegas.
Treu said he wants the BlitzBokke to get off to their best start at the tournament, and this is why they will field the same starting line-up that won in Las Vegas to give the team continuity.
“It will be difficult for the team, because while we won in Las Vegas, the other teams have now studied and analysed us and how we play. Players won’t have the element of surprise anymore and the opportunities will probably be less,” Treu said.
“This is why we need every player to understand their role in the side and to have no soft moments. We need them to implement that plan to the letter. If we do that over the next two days, we will give ourselves a chance when we get to the Cup knock-out rounds.”South Africa face Spain at 10.52am (CAT, GMT+2) on Friday.Fixtures: All games live on SS5.
10.30am Australia v Zimbabwe10.52 South Africa v Spain
11.14 Fiji v Malaysia
11.36 Samoa v Mexico
11.58 England v China
12.20 New Zealand v Korea
12.42 Argentina v Canada
13.04 Wales v Hong Kong
13.54 Kenya v Russia
14.16 Scotland v Tonga
14.37 USA v Japan
15.00 France v Portugal