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Blitzboks expecting the unexpected in Harare

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    Posted: 15-Sep-2023 at 10:39am
There were some familiar faces at the tournament hotel and the flight to Harare was almost like travelling to Johannesburg, but the Springbok Sevens team's journey to Zimbabwe – for the Rugby Africa Olympic Games qualifiers on Saturday and Sunday – is one they have not yet travelled before and where they will expect the unexpected.

 

That is the view of Blitzbok head coach Sandile Ngcobo, after the squad arrived in Harare on Thursday afternoon, ready for their first Olympic qualifying tournament in Africa.

 

“We don't know what to expect, this is not the World Series or a World Cup or something like that,” said Ngcobo.

 

“We need to focus on ourselves and be able to adapt to the other teams, the environment and the referees’ interpretations.

 

“We approach this as climbing a mountain to reach the summit. You must keep your focus on your next step to make sure you don’t trip over a rock, but the goal remains to reach the summit. We will take it game for game and deal with the obstacles as they come along our way.”

 

Ngcobo said the work back home and the trip to Harare went according to plan.

 

“The flight here was quick – it was almost the same as flying to Johannesburg – and we arrived in beautiful weather, so no problems on that front,” he said.

 

“We now need to make sure the players are hydrated and have rested bodies for training, as we only have this one session here and then it is day one. It will be all about detail.

 

“We have done a lot of preparation back home, in fact, we had to tone down a bit as the guys really put in the effort and we needed to make sure we don't empty the tank. So, I am pleased with us arriving here well prepared.”

 

With regards to their opponents on the opening day, Ngcobo said they will be looking at playing their own game: “We don’t know much about them, so the focus will be to execute what we do, very well.”

 

South Africa’s pool fixtures (Saturday, 16 September):

10h50: Cote D'Ivoire

13h34: Tunisia

16h18: Madagascar

 

Matches will be live streamed on the Rugby Africa Facebook page.

 

Blitzbok squad (with World Series stats):

Christie Grobbelaar – 18 tournaments, 150 points (30 tries)

Ryan Oosthuizen – 43 tournaments, 200 points (40 tries)

Impi Visser (captain) – 32 tournaments, 150 points (30 tries)

Zain Davids – 40 tournaments, 188 points (37 tries)

Travis Ismaiel – 5 tournaments, 10 points (2 tries)

Ricardo Duarttee – 10 tournaments, 212 points (15 tries, 67 conversions, 1 penalty goal)

Ronald Brown – 13 tournaments, 338 points (34 tries, 84 conversions)

Selvyn Davids – 29 tournaments, 586 points (73 tries, 109 conversions, 1 penalty goal)

Justin Geduld – 54 tournaments, 1077 points (116 tries, 247 conversions, 1 penalty goal)

Donavan Don – 4 tournaments, 10 points (2 tries)

Rosko Specman – 30 tournaments, 416 points (76 tries, 18 conversions)  

Shilton van Wyk – 13 tournaments, 135 points (27 tries)
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