CAPE TOWN - Seabelo Senatla might have had many career highlights, but this weekend, he will enjoy yet another one in his young rugby career. In fact, he could be celebrating for two different reasons.
You see, at the Cape Town leg of the 2017-18 World Sevens Series this weekend, the 24-year-old will play in his 35th World Sevens Series tournament. Now that’s quite something on its own, and the fact that it will go down in front of a massive Cape Town crowd makes the special moment even better.
In rugby terms, earning your 35th tournament appearance means that you receive full Springbok colours. And Senatla will also have an opportunity to join an elite group of men to have scored 200 tries in the World Sevens Series if he crosses the try line a couple of times in Cape Town.
Senatla - who already holds the all-time record for the most tries scored by a Blitzbok on the World Sevens circuit - currently boasts 196 five pointers, and he only needs four more to reach 200 tries and become one of only five players to have ever done so.
But, like previously mentioned, he has enjoyed a couple of milestones in his exciting metier.
Up to this point, the pace-master has represented the Blitzboks at the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens, he was part of the squad that won gold at the 2013 World Games, and in the 2013-14 World Series, he was right at the top of the try-scoring list with 29 dot-downs.
And it’s quite hard to forget that he also featured in the Springbok Sevens team that claimed bronze at the Rio Olympics last year and he also scored four tries, before he decided to focus on fifteens with the Stormers and Western Province. And it shouldn’t be forgotten that he was named the World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year last year after scoring 66 tries in 10 events during the 2015-16 Series - the second-most scored by any player in the history of the event. Impressive, right?
So, it seems like there’s a lot at stake for the try-hungry speedster this weekend. Or not really a lot at stake, rather, he has a golden chance to reach yet another milestone or two.
Would it be a bit too much for all the Senatla-crazy fans to expect him to do just that? I don’t think so, not at all. Senatla is certainly one of the most recognisable faces on the Sevens circuit, and there’s a very good reason for that.
He provides the tries on tap - something that’s become synonymous with the Sevens star - but he also has a fantastic skillset. And his Sevens artillery has made his pacey runs to the try line an expected image.
A lot can happen at the Cape Town event, of course, and the other teams will surely be gunning for a chance to beat the defending Series champions.
Earlier this week, coach Neil Powell also said that his team were a bit rusty in Dubai and that he hopes the players find each other in Cape Town. And seeing that it was the opening tournament of the Series last week, that rustiness can probably be expected .
Point is, just imagine how potent Senatla, and the rest of the team, can be once he and his teammates gel well enough to shift into fifth gear. Just imagine the damage Senatla can do.
It’s certainly something to look forward to, and if all goes well, Senatla - and his fans - could be celebrating for more reason than one this weekend.