Cape Town - Springbok Sevens veteran Frankie Horne says the senior players in the national squad have a very important role to play this season.
There’s plenty to be excited about when it comes to South African sevens rugby.
The World Series season kicks off in two weeks’ time, with the circuit making its first appearance in Cape Town on December 12 and 13. The shortened campaign also promises plenty of action and entertainment, while there will be focus on Olympic Games preparation in the near future.
Off the field, there’s plenty of excitement too.
The Blitzboks squad has grown following the inclusion of several Currie Cup, Super Rugby and Springbok players, as well as sevens academy youngsters. These players will be given the opportunity to prove their worth, with the hopes of competing for places in the national team for sevens rugby’s Olympic debut in Rio, Brazil in 2016.
Horne, who has been playing sevens rugby since 2007, believes this emphasises the importance of mentorship from the senior players.
“Things are very different. Usually, a sevens squad only includes 20 or 21 players. Now we have 32 players at training!” Horne told MyPlayers.co.za. “But it’s great having everybody involved. The new guys bring a positive vibe with them and they’re very keen to learn.
“The senior players have a very important role to play. We need to spread our knowledge and experience to the players coming through as they will carry and lead this team in future. It’s great to be here, but we still need to prove to the coaches that we deserve our places in the team.
“So whether we make it or not, there won’t be a loss of momentum. Guys like Werner Kok, Kwagga Smith and Seabelo Senatla are the future of sevens rugby, and we need to ensure they can lead the team in any circumstance.”
The 32-year-old added that the Blitzboks are starting to build a strong Olympic culture.
“It’s definitely an exciting time for sevens rugby. We never grew up with an Olympic culture, and we never did well at once-off tournaments. We always took things year by year or season by season. Now we have something big to build towards,” said Horne.
“The dress rehearsal at the Commonwealth Games has really motivated us. It was one of the best tournament runs by a Springbok Sevens team, and that sets the tone for the build-up towards the Olympic Games.”
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