Las Vegas - Even 43 tournaments down the line, the idea of running onto a rugby field with his fellow Blitzboks still excites Springbok Sevens captain, Philip Snyman.
Nothing will change this weekend when the team contests the Las Vegas Sevens tournament, the fifth of the World Rugby Sevens Series.
“It is hard to believe we are almost halfway through the series, but that does not take away any of the fun or commitment from the team,” Snyman said.
“The fact of the matter is, we still need to start from base, even after five tournaments. Nothing that happened in the first four will mean anything here in Vegas. We need to start from scratch, but have the hindsight of what worked previously. Those are laying a solid foundation, building momentum and believing in our structures and team-mates.”
The experienced player, who has scored 246 points in his Blitzbok career so far, is comfortable with the abilities of the squad, despite being without the likes of Kwagga Smith, Kyle Brown, Tim Agaba and Seabelo Senatla.
“We have lost some personnel, but there are some new faces coming into the mix and fitting in very well,” he said. “I think we have prepared brilliantly and everyone is on the same commitment level. There is a good vibe in the squad and we want to get going.”
For Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, it is all about momentum and consistency when they their Pool A commitments against Canada in the Sam Boyd Stadium (04:43 SA time on Saturday).
“We are aiming among other things to maintain those, because if we do, it will deliver a good result,” said Powell.
“We have lost the likes of Kwagga and Seabelo, but if the new guys can step in without disrupting our rhythm, we should be ok. They know what their roles are and I have faith in their abilities.”
Powell pointed to Siviwe Soyizwapi as their key man, having replaced Senatla: “We are lucky to have experienced campaigners such as Cecil Afrika and Stephan Dippenaar back in the mix, but I am keen to see Siviwe respond to the challenge of filling Sea's boots. I think he is going to surprise a lot of people.”
The Blitzboks also play France at 07:42 on Saturday, with their final pool A match against Wales taking place on Sunday at 02:08 (SA time).
Blitzboks squad (with tournament caps and points):
1. Chris Dry (56, 405)
2. Philip Snyman (captain, 41, 246)
3. Dylan Sage (11, 50)
4. Zain Davids (2, 0)
5. Werner Kok (23, 275)
6. Siviwe Soyizwapi (7, 50)
7. Branco du Preez (49, 963)
8. Stephan Dippenaar (30, 210)
9. Justin Geduld (29, 659)
10. Cecil Afrika (47, 1167)
11. Rosko Specman (17, 203)
12. Ruhan Nel (15, 140)
13. Stedman Gans* (0, 0)