We know him as the one of the most exciting Springbok Sevens playmakers, yet Justin Geduld says that he never expected that he’d “still be in the team” and play in his 35th World Rugby Sevens Series tournament.
Geduld will reach the special milestone at the London leg of the 2017/18 series this weekend.
And it’s a “humbling experience” Geduld is looking forward to.
“I never expected to join such a distinguished group of players who also achieved this. It is a humbling experience,” said Geduld, who has scored 787 points in 124 matches for the Blitzboks.
“In the beginning, my dream was just to make the team, so to still be here is massive for me. I will certainly enjoy this experience. I just want to express myself and contribute to the team effort.”
Geduld last played in Hamilton (the fourth of the 10 tournaments), where he suffered a broken jaw that ruled him out of the Las Vegas, Vancouver, Hong Kong and Singapore tournaments.
While he missed those events, he made his comeback at the Commonwealth Games in April, and now he’s keen to help the Blitzboks work towards defending their series title by claiming the top podium spot in London.
And while Geduld said they won’t be putting too much pressure on themselves, he is confident that they’ll be able to get the job done if they just play their game.
“We are not putting any pressure on ourselves and will go out there and play as we know we can. If we do that, the results will come,” Geduld said.
Coach Neil Powell said the hard work in the build-up to this weekend’s tournament was done back in Stellenbosch, and applauded the energy and effort this week in London.
“We had a bigger group of player in Stellenbosch, and the guys really pushed each other for spot in the squad,” said Powell.
“We did some good work there. I am pleased with our effort here as well. The likes of Justin, Branco (du Preez), Ruhan (Nel) and Philip (Snyman) are keen to play again and that bodes well. They need to go out and enjoy themselves.”
Fiji currently top the log while the Blitzboks are in second place, four points behind Fiji.
And although this weekend and the penultimate leg in Paris will be crucial in terms of racking up points to move to the top of the log, Powell said that they’re not too focused on the standings.
Ryan Oosthuizen, Philip Snyman (captain), Dylan Sage, Zain Davids, Werner Kok, Heino Bezuidenhout, Branco du Preez, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Justin Geduld, Cecil Afrika, Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Stedman Gans (reserve).
Day One (SA times):
10.52am: Russia, 1.58pm: Canada, 5.04pm: Samoa.