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