Cape Town - The three new names on the
Springbok Sevens team sheet for the NZ Sevens tournament that kicks off in
Hamilton on Saturday are determined to enjoy this experience as part of the
Blitzboks squad and to contribute to the team’s effort.
Sikhumbuzo Notshe wants to make a
solid contribution to the Blitzboks’ cause before he returns to the Stormers for their Super Rugby campaign next week, and he is confident
that he will return to Cape Town as a better player.
Notshe joined the sevens
programme in October last year, was selected for the SA Rugby Sevens Academy
side that played in Dubai in December and got his Blitzbok call-up for the
Australasian leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series.
The former Wynberg
Boys’ High learner made his Blitzboks debut in Sydney last weekend, when he
replaced injured Ruhan Nel, and is now keen to make the most of his remaining
time with the squad here in Hamilton.]
"There are a couple of areas
where I feel that I improved in the last couple of months – my skills
benefitted, as did my work rate," said Notshe.
"My one-on-one skills on defence
and beating players on attack certainly benefitted as well, as did my work at
the breakdown – the guys spend a lot of time working on that area, on attack
Notshe loved every minute of his
time with the Blitzboks.
"Playing 15s will always be the bigger picture for me,
but my involvement with the Blitzboks in the last couple of months certainly
whet my appetite. There is a Commonwealth Games and a Rugby World Cup Sevens this
year, but the biggest thing that will draw me back is the people that I worked
with. There is a good culture going around here," he said.
Zain Davids, a former Rondebosch
Boys High pupil, made his Springbok Sevens debut in last year's New Zealand
tournament – played in Wellington – and he hopes this appearance will have the
same result, as the Blitzboks were crowned champions in 2017.
"It is another opportunity and
one I want to use to the best of my ability," the 20-year-old said.
Davids, who was a member of the
SA Rugby Sevens Academy squad that won the Sudamericarugby7s tournaments in
Uruguay and Chile in January, feels the attention to detail looked at in that
system improves him as a player.
"They look at the small things,
for example the weak shoulder tackle and how to improve on that or how to
exploit that on attack," said Davids.
"It is all about the development
of a player and even the training sessions are at a high intensity, so that
prepares one for the series as well."
Muller du Plessis, who will be
the back-up player for the tournament in the FMG Stadium, can’t hide his
"I am really pleased to be here. Growing up, one of my ambitions
was to be involved with the Blitzboks, so this really is a dream come true," he said.
"I immediately phoned my family
when I heard the news, as they have been supporting me all along.
"This is a massive opportunity
for me to be involved at such an early stage of my career already. I can keen
to learn from the senior guys all the time."
Du Plessis, who also played for
the SA Rugby Sevens Academy in South America, endorsed this structure as the
ideal stepping stone into the high intensity of the World Series.
environment is pretty much the same as that of the Blitzboks and we often train
with and against them, so it is the ideal way to adapt to the system. That is
part of what I want to achieve this week, to get closer to the player I am
expected to be," he said.