No title maybe but Blitzboks still have a lot to play for, says Branco
CAPE TOWN – It’s not a title that will motivate the Blitzboks at the final leg of the World Sevens Series in Paris this weekend, but a hashtag... yep, as in a social media hashtag.
You won’t have to scroll too far down the Springbok Sevens team’s Twitter profile before seeing the slogan #WePlayForYou. And it’s exactly those words that Blitzbok veteran Branco du Preez wants the team to live out in the French capital tomorrow and Sunday.
While winning a third consecutive series title isn’t on the cards for Neil Powell’s team, they achieved one of their biggest goals for the season when they locked down fourth spot on the standings and gained automatic entry to the Tokyo Olympics next year.
Qualification is in the bag, but even so Du Preez - who last week played in his 70th tournament, the most by any SA Sevens player - wants nothing but 100% from himself and his teammates.
“No titles maybe, but we still have a lot to play for,” said Du Preez as the Blitzboks prepare to take on Wales, Kenya and Australia on the opening day at the Stade Jean-Bouin. “We are playing for our country, we are playing for our family, we are playing for our fans and we are playing for ourselves and the guy next to you. If that does not charge you up, nothing will.
“And if you say it, you must show it. That will mean you empty the tank on the field. Each one of us needs to prove to ourselves as well just how much we still want this jersey.”
Another Blitzbok who wants to see maximum effort this weekend is Ryan Oosthuizen.
While the forward admitted their performance in London, which saw them end seventh, hurt the team, he is looking forward to making up for it.
“We play this game because we love and enjoy it, so will try and do both this weekend. After all, there is no need to leave anything on the field,” Oosthuizen said.
So ja, there’s no series title to play for in Paris. But if there’s one hashtag to take note of this weekend, it’s #WePlayForYou.
Like Du Preez said - if you say it, you must show it - and if the Blitzboks again live up to the slogan, the 2018-19 finale should be a quality one from the South Africans.@WynonaLouw