Siviwe Soyizwapi says the Blitzboks are enjoying the fresh air again. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix.
Siviwe Soyizwapi says the Blitzboks are enjoying the fresh air again. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix.

Blitzboks finally have a reason to smile at Tokyo Olympics

By Mike Greenaway Time of article published Jul 20, 2021

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DURBAN - The good news is that the Springbok Sevens team has at last managed to get on to the training pitch in Japan after a number of setbacks which has put them a week behind schedule.

The Blitzboks arrived in Japan a week ago but have had to undergo two isolations periods before finally getting their Covid clearance and now they have just a week left before the Olympic Sevens kick off in Tokyo.

ALSO READ: Isolating Neil Powell to be 'virtual' coach in Blitzboks’ quest for rugby gold

The South Africans have also suffered the unfortunate blow of coach Neil Powell testing positive for the virus and now having to oversee their preparations virtually.

“We are very happy to be out here and breathing in fresh air after a week in our hotel rooms,” said captain Siviwe Soyizwapi.

“This session was supposed to be a low-key one in terms of intensity, but the guys could not help themselves and pushed things up a few notches.

“We decided to process negative news in a positive way and that is what we have done. As a group, it actually worked for us being isolated, as it brought a tight-knit group even closer.

ALSO READ: Blitzboks coach Neil Powell tests positive for Covid-19

“The squad – players and management – took a decision to always take the optimistic route and that certainly helped. The obstacles were different, but we have overcome them in our minds already.”

Soyizwapi added that the five days of isolation were not a waste of time: “We used the time well and could focus on game plans and plays, so we turned it around into a positive experience.”

Stedman Gans also pointed to the smiles on faces when they finally managed to run a couple of plays out on the field: “We saw it as a challenge, and South Africans love challenges. We are taking it front on and I have no doubt that we will be ready next week.

ALSO READ: Team SA following protocols in Tokyo after positive Covid tests

“We prepared well back home, so the fine-tuning we planned to do here is now well underway,” said Gans.

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