CAPE TOWN – Blitzboks veteran Chris Dry has called time on his international Sevens career.
One of the most decorated South African Sevens stars, the 33-year-old represented the country at the Rugby World Cup Sevens, won gold at the Commonwealth Games and was part of the team that ended fifth at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The forward has also won two World Series’ with the Blitzboks and made the World Series Dream team in 2017.
Dry, who made his debut in 2010 in Adelaide, Australia, represented the team in 74 World Sevens Series tournaments, scoring 98 tries over 373 matches.
“As a competitive rugby player, you always believe you have one more season in you, but it is time to step away from the game that gave me so much over the last decade and more,” said Dry.
“Age did become a factor - it is harder and harder to keep pace with a game as fast as international Sevens.
“I also had hip surgery recently and it became quite a fight to keep up. Also, finishing off your career at the Olympic Games, knowing you left while still being selected for a squad was always the ideal for me. So, I leave happy and on my terms.”
Dry, the second most-capped Blitzboks of all time, went on to say that both Blitzboks coaches in his career had a massive impact on him.
“I am grateful for being there so long, but the younger guys in the system also need the opportunity to play and develop and you need to create that space for them. With the Commonwealth Games and next year’s Rugby World Cup Sevens on the horizon, the best time for that to happen is now and I will not be blocking the next guy coming through from that opportunity to develop on the international stage.
“Paul Treu took in this raw 15-a-side player and developed me and gave me the chance,” said Dry. “Neil Powell added to my skills and responsibilities and made me a player that could compete at the highest level. My two coaches from way back in Free State - Joe Beukes and Pine Pienaar – also backed me at the time.
Powell, who will guide the Blitzboks until next year’s World Cup in Cape Town, said Dry’s contributions to the Sevens environment have been immense.
“He is everything that Sevens stands for - on and off the field,” said Powell. “His competitiveness and the standards he set and maintained at training sessions will be missed. The senior guy running in front and pulling the younger ones with him was a great attribute.
“His off-field contributions were even better; he drove our culture hard and was always ready and available to help anyone. He would often sit with someone playing in the same position and talk through the technicalities and the demands of that position.
“He is always positive, always has a smile, and he always brought the gees (spirit). He will be missed. He had a such a brilliant career, despite the fact that he was always prepared to sacrifice his own ambition for the needs of the team.”