NEWS ARTICLES
Last chance to show what Blitzboks stand for
May 19, 2017
The HSBC London Sevens tournament will provide the Springbok Sevens with a final opportunity during the current season to showcase their skills and to play together as a team, so they want to deliver a good result.

This is according to regular playmaker Rosko Specman. South Africa face Kenya, Wales, and the USA in Pool A of the tournament, the final one of the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Specman, who proved to be a real talisman for the World Series champions in 2017, appreciates the fact that this will be the last opportunity for this current squad to play together.

“We have been training since September last year and have been in each other's company since then, so we have established a wonderful bond,” said Specman.

“We really are a band of brothers. This tournament will be the last for this group to play together and we want to make it special.”

South Africa clinched the series when they won their fifth tournament in Paris last weekend and will officially be crowned champions on Sunday, another motivation for the team to give it one more push, Specman feels.

“The pressure to win the series is gone, but we are still under pressure from ourselves to deliver a performance to be proud out,” said Specman.

“I think though, we will also be out to celebrate our successes this year by expressing ourselves and play with joy.”

Last year, the Blitzboks came to Twickenham still within the grasp of the overall series title, but Fiji gained enough points to retain the series trophy. South Africa made the final, but suffered a heart-breaking loss when Scotland scored the winning points after the final buzzer.

“That was very disappointing yes, we felt terrible. But that was also the start of us making finals, and we learned from that experience. So although we lost that one, we learned valuable lessons that helped us winning five finals out of eight since,” Specman said.

The Grahamstown-raised player has often swung the momentum of tight matches towards South Africa with his attacking prowess and was named Player of the Final in Las Vegas.

“Those accolades are great, but it remains a team effort. I will still want to go out and make the tournament's Dream Team, but my responsibilities within our structures will come first,” said Specman, who scored 17 tries this season, including a spectacular one in the semi-final of the HSBC Paris Sevens against New Zealand last weekend.

The team’s leading points’ scorer of all time, Cecil Afrika, credited the coaching staff for much of the success the team enjoyed this season.

“They really put a foundation in place for us, with the preparations and game plan. We just need to go out and execute that,” Afrika said.

“We go into every match with a proper plan and the coach gives us pretty clear instructions. Within that structure, we then go out and put our bodies on the line for our team mates and country. That is why we were successful this year.”

The 29-year old was a rookie squad member of the 2008/09 team that won the World Series, but did not play in any tournaments.

The Blitzboks’ match schedule for Saturday is (SA times):
12h20 vs Kenya
15h26 vs Wales
18h32 vs USA Stats and facts:
• Cecil Afrika could extend his South African record for career points in the series. He is currently on 1273 points.
• Branco du Preez could extend his South African record for career conversions in the series. He is currently on 327 conversions.
• Marco Labuschagne could make his debut for the Springbok Sevens team, should he take to the field.
• South African could win a record sixth tournament title in one season should they be victorious in London.
• South Africa has won the HSBC London Sevens on two previous occasions, in 2005 and 2011.

The South African squad (with tournaments and points) for the HSBC London Sevens are:
1. Chris Dry (61; 450)
2. Philip Snyman (captain, 46; 291)
3. Dylan Sage (16; 95)
4. Ryan Oosthuizen (3, 0)
5. Werner Kok (28; 345)
6. Siviwe Soyizwapi (11; 155)
7. Branco du Preez (54; 1043)
8. Sandile Ngcobo (5; 20)
9. Dewald Human (1; 2)
10. Cecil Afrika (52; 1273)
11. Rosko Specman (20; 258)
12. Ruhan Nel (20; 172)
13. Marco Labuschagne (0, 0)*
*Reserve player

MATCH CENTRE
FIXTURES
     
RESULTS
     
Vodacom Super Rugby
Saturday, May 27 2017
23:40 - Jaguares vs Brumbies
Velez Sarsfield Stadium, Buenos Aires
Sunday, May 28 2017
14:30 - Emirates Lions vs Southern Kings
Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Friday, June 02 2017
09:35 - Blues vs Reds
Apia Park, Apia
Saturday, June 03 2017
04:35 - Crusaders vs Highlanders
AMI Stadium, Christchurch
07:05 - Chiefs vs Waratahs
FMG Stadium, Hamilton
11:45 - Brumbies vs Rebels
GIO Stadium, Canberra
13:55 - Force vs Hurricanes
nib Stadium, Perth
Friday, June 09 2017
09:35 - Hurricanes vs Chiefs
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Castle Lager Incoming Series
Saturday, June 10 2017
17:00 - South Africa vs France
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Saturday, June 17 2017
17:00 - South Africa vs France
Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban

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