For the highly successful Blitzboks, current back-to-back World Series champions, those pickings have been very rewarding in the last decade or so. In fact, since the World Series started all the way back in 1999, there was joy, amongst others, for South Africa’s sevens team in places such as Las Vegas, Vancouver, London, Paris, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, Wellington and Cardiff.
One city remains absent though and as Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, named his team for next weekend’s Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, that elusive win in the Hong Kong Stadium would be part of his thinking.
Powell is more process driven, rather than outcome based though, so would have been very pleased when he could name Siviwe ‘Shakes’ Soyizwapi as his captain for this trip, the seventh in those ten that make up the world showpiece.
Soyizwapi is pretty much a product of the ‘sevens process’, having paid his dues in the SA Rugby Sevens Academy before graduating into the Blitzboks, first as a novice and back-up player, to a senior squad leader, leading try-scorer and now, for the first time, captain of the Springbok Sevens team.
‘Shakes’ takes over from Philip Snyman, who picked up concussion in Vancouver earlier this month and has been ruled out of the trip to Hong Kong.
However, the 26-year-old speedster, who played Vodacom Super Rugby for the Isuzu Southern Kings before making the move to sevens, is very fond of Hong Kong.
The fact that the Blitzboks are yet to leave the city as champions will just make the newly appointed captain more determined.
“I made my debut in Hong Kong in 2016 and scored my first try there, so have good memories of that. To debut at the same venue as captain is another reason why I think Hong Kong is a great place,” Soyizwapi said with a broad smile on his face.
“Luckily the rest of the players in the leadership group are around and there are a number of very experienced guys in the squad and I have their support. “I never expected to captain the side to be honest, it is a massive honour and a responsibility I hope to fulfil with pride and ability,” he said.
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