He made his debut for the Blitzboks 10 seasons ago at the very same tournament, and now Philip Snyman will come full circle at the Dubai Sevens.
Snyman was a teammate of coach Neil Powell in the 2008/09 season when he earned his first tournament appearance because of an injury.
After 54 events, Snyman will lead the Springbok Sevens side who are aiming to make it three titles in a row at The Sevens Stadium.
They begin their quest against neighbours Zimbabwe on Friday morning (8.52am SA time), and the 31-year-old Snyman is excited about making it a hat trick.
“Ten years, I can’t believe it! It’s been a couple of fantastic years, and if I look back now over the career, all credit must actually go to Kyle (Brown),” Snyman said from Dubai on Thursday.
“He stuck it out, and stayed in the system for the whole time. I left for a short while to go and try something else, but back again here, and very happy to be back – especially with Kyle by my side.
“I have very happy memories from Dubai, which is why I think it is one of my favourite tournaments. It was my first tournament because of an injury.
“We’ve got a lot of support here and the travel isn’t too bad. And also, we are fresh coming out of a pre-season.”
Of course, renewal of talent is always prevalent on the sevens circuit, and the SA side is no different – having lost the likes of Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga Smith from previous seasons.
While Impi Visser is the only uncapped player in Dubai, Dewald Human and Muller du Plessis have featured in just four tournaments each.
What a day for this young man ! Earlier this afternoon Impi Visser wrote his final exam for a mechanical engineering degree and just after that he received his first ever Blitzbok jersey. All here in Dubai. Outstanding Impi Visser ! @FNBSA @CastleFreeSA @ASICSRugby #bestofus pic.twitter.com/OeqEllq7Z0— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) November 29, 2018
But Snyman is confident that his team can get off to a winning start.
“We have a really good squad who have been working really hard over the pre-season. So, I think everything is kind of in place for the first tournament, and the guys are hungry,” he said.
“We can actually take a couple of lessons from this tournament, and stay hungry throughout the year. And if we manage to do that, who knows, maybe we will go three in a row this year.
“We managed to win two finals, but played in all the semi-finals. We want to have that killer instinct when we reach the semi-finals, to go on to the finals and put teams away.”
No World Cup, no Commonwealth Games this season but a massively important @WorldRugby7s with the Tokyo Olympics in two years time. @Neil5Powell @CastleFreeSA @FNBSA @ASICSRugby . #bestofus #weplayforyou pic.twitter.com/P78CvC5q5i— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) November 29, 2018
8.52am: Zimbabwe, 12.36pm: Samoa, 5.53pm: Argentina.
Springbok Sevens Squad
Philip Snyman (captain), Impi Visser, Ryan Oosthuizen, Zain Davids, Werner Kok, Kyle Brown, Brando du Preez, Rosko Specman, Justin Geduld, Dewald Human, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Muller du Plessis. Reserve: Selvyn Davids.@ashfakmohamed