Muller du Plessis excited about feeling Blitzboks ‘pressure’ again
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CAPE TOWN – Muller du Plessis says he is looking forward to playing “under pressure” again as he returns to the Blitzboks side for this weekend’s Olympic warm-up tournament in Stellenbosch.
The Springbok Sevens side will once again face the likes of Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe in the Rugby Africa Solidarity Sevens Camp at the Markötter Stadium in Stellenbosch on Friday and Saturday.
The SA squad were split up into two teams for last weekend’s event, and the same will happen this time around, although coach Neil Powell has had to make changes due to a few injury concerns.
Chris Dry, Lubabalo Dobela and Kurt-Lee Arendse are not ready to feature again, while Du Plessis is back from injury, and James Murphy, Ryan Oosthuizen, Impi Visser and Justin Geduld will change teams.
Siviwe Soyizwapi will captain the SA 1 side, while Dewald Human takes charge of SA 2.
Cheetahs flyer Darren Adonis will make his debut as well.
“I’m really excited to be back on the field. I think it’s a great opportunity to play against these good teams Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe,” Du Plessis said from Stellenbosch on Thursday.
“It’s much better competition for us, and I think for the preparation for the Olympics, it’s good to be better under pressure. As a team, it’s good to be tested before we go to the Olympics, so we’re very excited.
“With this winter weather that we’re playing in, it’s going to be the same I think in Olympics as well, with the humidity, so the ball is going to be a bit slippery and we have to get used to that.”
Soyizwapi urged his teammates to “start all over again” this weekend. “It’s all about getting our combinations right getting game time, and hopefully executing the plan according to all that we’ve been working on preparing for in the past couple of weeks in camp.”
Powell said that it was up to the players to push for places in the Tokyo Olympic squad, which he told Independent Media this week is likely to be announced in early July.
“When we started our last training block, I asked the players to make it impossible for me not to take them to the Olympics and nothing has changed,” the Blitzboks mentor said.
“We are managing the workload of some players who have not played much in the last months, and others that played a lot last weekend will not feature as prominently this time around.
“The intensity from proper international opponents cannot be replicated on the training field, so this provides us with the ideal stage to front up and to get use to the demands of this level of rugby.”
SA Sevens Squads
SA 1: James Murphy, Ryan Oosthuizen, Impi Visser, Zain Davids, JC Pretorius, Branco du Preez, Selvyn Davids, Justin Geduld, Muller du Plessis, Ruhan Nel, Siviwe Soyizwapi (captain), Sebastiaan Jobb.
SA 2: Christie Grobbelaar, Mervano da Silva, Sako Makata, Khanya Ncusane, Tiaan Pretorius, Ronald Brown, Qamani Kota, Darren Adonis, Dewald Human (captain), Connor Mahoney, Shilton van Wyk, Latica Nela, Angelo Davids.