Blitzbok Kok gunning for gold

2015-11-10 14:11
Werner Kok (Getty Images)

Cape Town - World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Werner Kok is making the most of his journey leading into the 2016 Olympic Games.

The Blitzboks are building exciting momentum heading into sevens rugby’s Olympic introduction in Rio, Brazil in 2016.

South Africa did not only secure qualification for the world’s biggest sporting event, but were one of the most consistent teams during the 2014/15 Sevens World Series.

While experienced players, like skipper Kyle Brown, Frankie Horne, Cecil Afrika, Branco du Preez, Chris Dry and Philip Snyman, form the core leadership, the injection of youth in recent seasons has provided exuberance and refreshment, contributing to the team’s growth into a global sevens powerhouse.

This development includes the emergence of Werner Kok.

The gold-locked, 22-year-old from Nelspruit has quickly earned respect on the Sevens World Series scene. His “never-say-die” attitude on the field and his humbleness off it makes him a popular character among his peers.

Despite his young age, he has already played 16 World Series tournaments since his international debut in 2013. He also formed part of the team that achieved the gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Many will remember his kick into touch after the hooter, sealing the victory over arch-rivals New Zealand in the final.

So what makes him so good? His all-round ability. He makes a big impact on attack, while he is highly effective on defence, which often sees him involved in match-defining moments.

When asked for the main reason behind his individual sevens success, Kok was quick to emphasise the collective effort and support from those around him.

“I’m lucky that I’ve been part of an effective development system and received great mentorship from senior players and coaches. Without their guidance and advice, I wouldn’t be the player I am today,” Kok told

“I can always turn to them when I’m not sure about something. I get to learn from the mistakes they once made, which allows me to evolve quicker. The sevens system has great structures in place for the development of young and upcoming players.”

Kok added that sevens rugby has also helped him improve as a player.

“I played for the Pumas after the Under-18 Craven Week, but I didn’t have any solid options after the tournament. After I played in the provincial sevens tournament, I got a great offer from Neil Powell and Marius Schoeman to join the Sevens Academy,” said Kok.

“If I could advise any young player, I’d tell them to get some sevens rugby experience. It quickly improves your fitness, skill, vision, speed and explosiveness. I’m a much better player today thanks to sevens rugby.”

While Kok is achieving success on the field, he’s making academic progress too as he’s currently studying fitness science and personal training.

“Both my parents are personal trainers, and my father was a successful tennis player, so I was always going to be involved sport and fitness. It’s in my blood,” said Kok. “As a young player, it’s important to prepare for life after rugby. Finding the balance between your professional career and studies is very difficult, but it’s achievable. I travel around the world with the team, but I always dedicate some time to my academics. You just need to find a course that works for you.”

Kok also thanked the players’ organisation for its assistance and service.

“While I’m caught up with rugby and study commitments, MyPlayers help me in a big way as they provide quality services,” he explained. “Whether it’s financial or career advice, or discounts on flights and airport parking, it’s great that the Players’ Rugby Organisation supports its members to the best of their ability.”

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