Tim Agaba has spent several months on the sidelines with an ankle injury. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
HONG KONG – Selvyn Davids is keen to make a lasting impression when he runs out for his Blitzboks debut in the Hong Kong Sevens, but is very aware that his performances should benefit the team first.

Davis, who replaced the injured Rosko Specman in the squad that has played in six consecutive finals, will become the third player this year to earn a first start for the South African Sevens team after Zain Davids and Stedman Gans debuted in Wellington and Las Vegas respectively.

“I am not going to try and be Rosko,” said Davids, who, like Specman, also hails from the Eastern Cape. “I will rather listen to the advice from Rosko himself, who told me I should go and be Selvyn Davids and not someone else. This helped a lot as I am just going to go out there to express myself and contribute to the team effort.”

The 23-year-old Davids played for the Griffons last season, but showed good aptitude for the shorter version of the game for the SA Rugby Sevens Academy in Dubai in December.

“Sevens was new to me, but I learned a lot from that tournament and since then working with the squad in Stellenbosch,” he explained. “I am pretty excited to use this opportunity, but I’m not looking too far ahead.

"I would love to get a sevens contract in future, but this weekend it is all about contributing to the team. I want to show what I can do, but not to the detriment of the team. Our culture is that the team comes first, so that is where my focus will be.”

Another player who will make a first appearance for the Blitzboks this year is Tim Agaba, who picked up an ankle injury in a warm-up tournament in November last year and has not yet featured.

In 2016, he played in eight consecutive tournaments and travelled to Rio as part of the South African Olympic team, who won bronze.

“It was frustrating to be on the sideline, but injuries are part of rugby, so it was something I had to accept,” said Agaba, a former EP Kings player. “The team did very well and the guys back home were as proud as those on tour. We always see our performances as a squad effort and this weekend will be nothing different.

"We try not to make one tournament bigger than the next, so despite the hype of Hong Kong, we are coming into the tournament calm and focussing on our first game. We have some definite goals we want to achieve here in Hong Kong and we are hoping to give a good account of ourselves.”

The Hong Kong tournament, to be played from Thursday to Sunday, is the seventh in the World Rugby Sevens Series. The Springbok Sevens are in Pool B and will face France on Friday and Kenya and Canada on Saturday.