Canada glory buried Tokyo disappointment - Soyizwapi
Springbok Sevens captain, Siviwe Soyizwapi said the commanding performances by the Blitzboks in the recent HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series events in Vancouver and Edmonton had buried the disappointment of the Tokyo Olympics and closed out the 2021 season with a perfect ending.
The South Africans won both HSBC Canada Sevens events and in the much-shortened World Series, and were awarded the overall title for the 2021 season, something Soyizwapi said was an upbeat end to the year.
"We hardly played in the last 18 months and when we did so for the first time, at the Tokyo Olympics, we did not perform to our standards. Everybody left that event hurt and very disappointed, not only in the result, but because we knew we were better than that 5th place finish," the winger said.
It was followed by the shortened 2021 series and the two Canadian events, and the Blitzboks, this time with four debutants in their midst, powered through Vancouver and Edmonton, with commanding wins in the respective finals over Kenya and Great Britain.
Soyizwapi said the 12 wins on the trot were more in the Blitzboks style.
"We unintentionally moved away from what worked for us when we played at the Olympics," Soyizwapi reflected, "and we paid the price. So, when we started up again, we went back to our core values and principles and executed that very well. The most pleasing part of that was the way our debutants responded when they were tested. They trusted the system and the results were there for all to see.
"Credit also to the older heads in the squad, like Dewald Human and Ryan Oosthuizen, who guided the youngsters well with their performances and leadership."
Soyizwapi feels this bodes well for the 2022 season, where the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town will close out the season in September.
"We are going to have a good break now and make sure we come back fresh for the challenges of 2022. We have missed out on playing in Cape Town in 2020 and 2021 with the tournament being cancelled, so we cannot wait for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in our own country," he said.
The 2022 season is due to kick off in Dubai at the end of November with two tournaments and the Blitzboks will return to Canada in February, while the Commonwealth Games in England in July will also be a big motivation for Soyizwapi and his troops.
The Blitzboks returned from Canada late in the week with Human and Sako Makata both injured, but the duo are on track to be eligible for the Middle East trip. Justin Geduld, Impi Visser, Lubabalo Dobela, Mfundo Ndhlovu, Angelo Davids and Branco du Preez will be ready to train with the squad as well when they return to Stellenbosch on 18 October to prepare for the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens.