Ryan Oosthuizen chomping at the bit to contribute to Blitzboks
The quiet, unassuming figure of Ryan Oosthuizen is a perfect example of what the Blitzboks are about, and the lanky 24-year-old is chomping at the bit to contribute to his team’s fortunes at this weekend’s Los Angeles Sevens.
Oosthuizen missed out on the previous two tournaments in Hamilton and Sydney as part of the rotational policy set out by Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell as part of his planning for the Olympic Games, but the part-time law student looks set to hit 100 matches and 100 points in Los Angeles this weekend.
Oosthuizen said as the Blitzboks fine-tuned their preparations.
“Nothing makes you realise how special it is to play for the Blitzboks than having to watch them play on television. It is such a privilege and honour to play for such a team with so many great players."
Oosthuizen was barely out of school at Paarl Gymnasium when the 2016 Rio Olympics came around. At that stage, he was plugging away as an outside centre for the Western Province age group teams, but come Tokyo 2020, he will be hoping to live his dream in Japan.
“Coach Neil planned to give everyone a fair opportunity to stake a claim for the Olympics,” he said.
“I play in a pretty competitive position, with guys such as Kwagga Smith and JC Pretorius also around, so I need to make sure I make it as hard as possible for the coach not to select me.
“The fact that the Hong Kong and Singapore tournaments have been postponed until after the Olympics has limited the opportunities to impress even more, so this weekend will be an important one for me.”
Oosthuizen is one of the best examples of the slogan “there is no I in team” and his contribution will be to “trust the system and process” rather than running 80 meters to score.
“We play best when everyone contributes and you trust the guy next to you,” said Oosthuizen.
“There was a slight hiccup in Hamilton and that resulted in a bad slip-up (the Blitzboks finished 9th). The guys bounced back nicely in Sydney and now we have another opportunity to continue with that here in Los Angeles.”