The Blitzboks were surprisingly knocked off their Dubai Sevens pedestal last weekend, but ahead of the Cape Town Sevens, one man will be extra determined to make a real difference on the pitch.
Zain Davids is a born-and-bred product of Cape Town, hailing originally from Grassy Park.
A hard-running loose forward in the 15-man code, Davids has been part of the sevens set-up for the last few years.
It is the ideal “finishing school” for the former SA Under-20 star, and the skills and work ethic he is picking up in the shortened format could finally decide the debate on whether he should be a No 8 or outside centre in traditional rugby in future.
But for now, the 21-year-old Rondebosch Boys’ High product is still honing his craft in the World Sevens Series.
And while “rugby people” may know him, this weekend’s Cape Town Sevens provides Davids with the perfect opportunity to announce himself on the South African rugby scene.
His strength in contact and ability to step like a centre – where he played a lot of his schoolboy rugby – may be just what the Blitzboks need at the Cape Town Stadium after their disappointing display in Dubai, where they lost to Argentina and England, and ended sixth overall.
Davids was a substitute in the pool matches and the Cup quarter-final against England, so he will hope to be given a chance by coach Neil Powell in his home town.
“I know it’s home and everybody is talking about a win. But I think it’s about the processes going into this weekend. If we gave it our all, we’ll be happy,” Davids told IOL Sport at a fan signing session at the V&A Waterfront on Wednesday.
“It’s something special as well, as it’s my first tournament at home. I think I shouldn’t take too much out of that, but it is also something good.”
Davids pointed out that there were some positives to come out of Dubai, where he scored two tries.
“Things didn’t go according to plan, but there is always a comeback. It was a learning curve for us, so we will take the positives that we got out of last week into Cape Town, and just start building from there.
“Our tackling, our defence, our line is there. And our work ethic is there. So, we need to just step it up more and work on the basics, and then we will do well.”
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