The 16 captains of the Cape Town Sevens teams pose with the trophy at Robben Island on Tuesday. Photo: SA Rugby

While it was known that the Blitzboks will be playing in special ‘Madiba jerseys’ at the Cape Town Sevens, visiting Robben Island on Tuesday brought it home for captain Philip Snyman.

The captains of the 16 teams went to the island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for their traditional pre-tournament photo, and Snyman says his team will draw inspiration from the late president as they look to bounce back from a disappointing Dubai Sevens campaign.

The Springbok Sevens lost to Argentina and England in the UAE, and ended sixth overall after going down in the fifth-place playoff to Fiji.

“It was very emotional standing on Robben Island, wearing this special jersey. We all celebrate the role Madiba played as the Father of the Nation, and this jersey will add to our motivation,” Snyman said on Tuesday.

“Similarly to that which our late Mr Mandela envisaged, the Blitzboks are a team that want to inspire and give hope to people, and to use our abilities on the field to bring the nation together.

“We only get one opportunity to play in front of your home crowd – 50 000 people supporting you, and then 50 million people back home.

“So, I think we are really inspired by the fact that we can play in a limited edition jersey – a once-off jersey, tribute to the late President Madiba.”

But it is on the pitch that the Blitzboks will need to rectify matters, and Snyman said that coach Neil Powell has been working hard to come up with a few plans.

“Coach Neil Powell has a plan or two up his sleeve and I think we will be very competitive this weekend,” he said.

“We are really happy to play in Cape Town this weekend, especially after coming off a not-so-good Dubai tournament. The guys will be ready and fired up, and we believe we will be successful this weekend.

“We want to play to our potential for ourselves and for everyone out there. That is a given.”

@ashfakmohamed


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