Branco du Preez doing what he does best, scoring a try for the Blitzboks. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
DURBAN - As the Blitzboks entered the “City of Lights”, famed for its patisseries, cakes and elegant desserts for their penultimate leg of the Sevens World Series, veteran Branco du Preez will be hoping to have his cake and eat it too.

The experienced Sevens star celebrated his birthday on Monday as the team touched down in the French capital and while he admits there was time for a bit of Paris’ finest delicacies, it was quickly back to action for the determined team.

“We travelled well and with the time difference the same, it was an easy flight from Cape Town to London and then into Paris,” he said.

“I was fortunate enough to have a little cake on my birthday, but we will now focus on the tournament.”

The Blitzboks are on the cusp of clinching the World Series after a dominant display this season.

With only Paris and London remaining, eyes will be on maintaining, or extending, their 25-point gap over Fiji. The focus will now move to a solid performance in this weekend’s Paris Sevens to be played at the Stade Jean-Bouin.

Du Preez, missed out on last year’s event, so he is keen to make his mark this time around.

“I have not played here before, so it is exciting for me, but the focus will be on contributing to the team first, rather than going at it yourself,” said Du Preez, who has played in 53 tournaments, fourth on the all-time Blitzboks list.

“I would like to go out and enjoy myself and to make sure that every contribution I make is a positive one.

“Consistency will be the key for us and that starts against Scotland. We certainly have a plan for them, so the challenge for us will be in the execution of that.”

Teammate, Dylan Sage, also pointed to the Scots as the main focus for them.

“We are aware of what happened last year. We had a good day one, but then lost to Samoa in the Cup quarters on day two and they went on to win the tournament. We have seen, with the likes of Kenya, Scotland and recently Canada, that any team can deliver on the day and win the tournament. There are no easy games out there,” Sage said.

“We are in a good space at the moment. We travelled well, have good momentum from the season and are looking to finish the season well.”

Sage has played in all eight tournaments this season and is proving a real stalwart.

He has scored 10 tries and is closing in on 50 matches for the season, which points to his telling involvement in the squad this year.

“We should not overthink it, stay in the right mental space and get the job done on Saturday. We have prepared well and if we stick to our plans and trust the processes, we will do well,” he said.

South Africa play against Scotland (11.28am), Japan (14.54pm) and Canada (18.42pm) in pool A on Saturday.

The Mercury

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