DURBAN - Kyle Brown and the other captains of the World Rugby Sevens Series had a photo-shoot yesterday on the set of the The Hobbit near Hamilton in New Zealand, but Brown says he and his team-mates are the ones hoping to be the giants of the series come Sunday night.
The BlitzBoks currently lead the series, with hosts New Zealand second. They face Papua New Guinea, Russia and England in Pool B of the tournament that starts on Saturday at Waikato Stadium.
Brown has been reinstated as captain after Philip Snyman was injured last week in Sydney and, despite asking to be relieved of the captaincy a while ago, he is more than willing to again take over.
Brown was the regular captain for a number of seasons but stood down at the end of the 2015/16 series when Snyman took over. Snyman, however, has returned to South Africa due to injury, and Brown accepted the captaincy offered to him by coach Neil Powell.
“There are a good couple of leaders in the squad, and a great bunch of guys, so I am pleased to lead them,” he said.
“In fact, leading the team will not be the most difficult part of taking over from Philip. It would rather be on the field, where he adds that something extra... whoever takes over from him in the starting line-up will have big shoes to fill.”
The BlitzBoks lost 29-0 to Australia in the final last week in the fourth round of the series and are determined to make up for that “wipe-out”.
“We progressed so well during the week into the tournament... and then came that final,” said Brown, the third most capped BlitzBok.
“Australia were fantastic, but we were really poor. Maybe the moment was too big for us, but the fact is that we had some great matches during the tournament, such as the semi-final against the USA.
“That is the type of performance we want to replicate this weekend. We like to judge ourselves on our own effort and we did not implement that in the final. That will drive us.”
The 16 team captains of @WorldRugby7s were taken to the film set of “The Hobbit” for the official captain’s photo. “The captaincy was slightly unexpected, but to be sitting outside Frodo's house was incredibly interesting and almost surreal," @kylegbrown admitted. pic.twitter.com/7rIZ8VCD9m
Zain Davids and Muller du Plessis will join the squad in place of Snyman and Ruhan Nel, who also returned home injured yesterday.
“We are looking forward to the weekend," said Brown.
"I am happy for Muller, who was still at school last year, as we are looking to build depth. He and Zain will be keen to slot in, but they only arrive in the early hours of the morning and the field session tomorrow will be testing for them.”