CAPE TOWN – According to Blitzbok talent Muller du Plessis, there are many reasons he has been dreaming of donning that respected South African jersey from a young age. One of those reasons was the winning culture.
That “winning culture” might not be as ever-present now as the Blitzboks haven’t been able to get going in the 2018-19 World Sevens Series, but it’s the knowledge of what they can do that’s keeping the young speedster hopeful of a top podium finish in Canada this weekend.
“There are many reasons why I wanted to play for the Blitzboks from a young age, one of which is the winning mentality and winning culture,” said Du Plessis, who will play in his eighth tournament for the team this weekend.
“Nothing has changed, although I am yet to experience that winning feeling. It can change this weekend, who knows.”
Du Plessis went into the Las Vegas leg last weekend as the official reserve after he recovered from an injury that limited his involvement early in the current series.
He replaced Mfundo Ndhlovu in the Blitzboks’ last match against Fiji in the United States. And while he admits that the setback was of course a frustrating one, he wants to use the chance that has been presented to him to help Neil Powell’s team return to winning ways.
“It was frustrating to pick up an injury in Cape Town at the end of last year and miss the next two tournaments, but things happen for a reason,” said Du Plessis.
“I worked hard during rehab and I am now looking forward to help contribute to the Blitzboks’ cause again. I want to thank the medical team of the Blitzboks, who helped me back to fitness and by contributing in a big way this weekend, (it) will be a way of thanking them for an often thankless task.
We need to eliminate small errors. If we stick to our fundamentals and execute them properly, we will be competitive, that has been proved over and over in recent seasons.”
Another youngster - Sako Makata - who debuted in Las Vegas to become the 176th Springbok Sevens player to play in the World Series, said although the final placing did not match their expectations, the experience gained did.
“I am ready for more - the Academy tours helped a lot, but this is the real thing,” the forward said.
“Everything is just a little bit faster and the margin of error is so much smaller. Especially the attack is much faster. One needs to adapt quickly and although the learning curve was steep, it was great and I am very keen to give it another go.
“We made some errors in Las Vegas that cost us, but we will work hard to fix those and get ready for whatever challenges awaits us at BC Place.”@WynonaLouw