Cape Town - He has been around the block - and the globe - with the
Blitzboks, and he arrived in Hong Kong for his eighth visit this weekend, so
when Chris Dry said that Springbok Sevens team will aim “to keep things simple
this week”, his advice will be taken to heart.
The 31-year-old forward will travel to the Far East as
the reserve player in the squad, but with 66 tournaments in the bag, Dry will
provide a valuable sound board, not only to Blitzbok coach Neil Powell, but
also to the rest of the Springbok Sevens squad as they aim to become the first
South African team to win the Hong Kong Sevens on Sunday.
The Blitzboks played in four finals since the iconic
tournament became part of the World Rugby Sevens Series 20 years ago, but
are yet to finish top of the podium.
Soon after the squad arrived in Hong Kong following a
20-hour trip that started in Stellenbosch on Saturday, Dry said that the squad
will not get ahead of themselves in the coming week, instead focusing on their
preparations for the tournament.
“It is a three-day tournament starting on Friday, so it is a
short turnaround for us, but we will be keeping things fairly simple to start
with," the two time World Rugby Sevens Series gold medallist said.
"I am 13th player this time around, so my
first task is not on the field, but rather off it. For now I will be doing my
best to assist Siviwe (Soyizwapi) as captain and guide the younger players
where needed. I will also make sure they are kept honest on the training
pitch,” he smiled.
His advice for now is to treat Hong Kong as just another
tournament, despite the hype and history of this event: “You get the same log
points here than anywhere else, so from that perspective it is all the same.
“There is a lot of hype yes and for many this is one
tournament you want to play, but we are not going to make this one bigger than
the rest," Dry added.
Springbok Sevens assistant coach, Renfred Dazel, who played
at the event a fistful of times and contested two finals, said the team will
not change anything to their normal routine.
“It has been a long haul to get here. We are slotting into
our normal routine though and already had a gym session to flush out,” Dazel
explained, agreeing with Dry that they are planning to “keep it simple”.
“We have a number of new guys, so we need to be careful not
to overload them with information at this stage. We will get into our normal
prep early and let the guys settle in before we fine-tune ahead of our first
match on Friday.”
Blitzboks squad for Hong Kong:
1. Ryan Oosthuizen (13 tournaments, 61 matches, 65 points, 13 tries)
2. Sako Makata (2 tournaments, 9 matches, 0 points)
3. Impi Visser (6 tournaments, 35 matches, 20 points, four tries)
4. Zain Davids (18 tournaments, 88 matches, 60 points, 12 tries)
5. Werner Kok (43 tournaments, 218 matches, 485 points, 97 tries)
6. Kurt-Lee Arendse (one tournament, two matches, 0 points)
7. Branco du Preez (67 tournaments, 339 matches, 1120 points; 88 tries, 387 conversions, 1 penalty, 1 drop goal)
8. Selvyn Davids (11 tournaments, 53 matches, 237 points, 27 tries, 51 conversions)
9. Justin Geduld (42 tournaments; 217 matches, 904 points - 95 tries, 213 conversions, 1 penalty)
10. Stedman Gans (15 tournaments, 69 matches, 105 points, 21 tries)
11. Siviwe Soyizwapi (captain; 24 tournaments, 124 matches, 385 points, 77 tries)
12. Angelo Davids (on debut)
13. Chris Dry (66 tournaments; 331 matches, 465 points, 93 tries) - travelling reserve
The Springbok Sevens' Pool A fixtures:
Friday, April 5:
12:06 v Japan
Saturday 6 April:
05:41 v Scotland
09:22 v Samoa