JOHANNESBURG - Las Vegas has certainly been a happy hunting ground for the Springbok Sevens team in the last five years, but Blitzboks star Branco du Preez says they are taking nothing for granted ahead of this weekend’s tournament at the Sam Boyd Stadium.
Du Preez knows all about tasting victory in the desert city of Las Vegas, having been part of the Blitzboks' three triumphs on US soil and also doing it in his landmark 50th tournament last year.
The diminutive Du Preez is aware of the pressure the South Africans will be under after retaking the World Rugby Sevens Series lead when they finished as losing finalists in the Sydney leg last month.
The South Africans may have stumbled at the final hurdle in Sydney and Hamilton, but they will be in familiar surroundings at the Sam Boyd Stadium while being buoyed by the return of inspirational captain Philip Snyman and robust back Ruhan Nel who missed out on action in New Zealand due to injury.
“I think Las Vegas is a nice place to play especially because of the field. I enjoy coming to Vegas and it is one of my favourites,” Du Preez said.
“We need to go out and enjoy ourselves on the pitch. I don’t think we should put too much pressure on ourselves and focus on the things we want to achieve this weekend and enjoy ourselves.”
The Blitzboks will be heavily reliant on Du Preez’s brilliance and experience this weekend after the former Blue Bulls scrumhalf played with a great deal of maturity and orchestrated the team’s march to the final in Hamilton, and this after arriving on the morning of the tournament.
He is the most successful player at the Las Vegas 7s but looking for more. Branco du Preez has won 3 Cup titels with the Blitzboks @USASevensRugby and just loves Vegas . @ASICS_ZA pic.twitter.com/EfMTiJT2IW
The same desire will be needed again on the field and this time around with the Blitzboks getting over the line if they are to open up a commanding lead at the top of the series standings.
“It is nice to tour with the boys and the last time I played I flew late into Hamilton on the day of the start of the tournament. So for me to be with the boys this whole week preparing for the weekend, I’m looking forward to getting on the pitch and doing my thing,” 27-year-old Du Preez added.
The Blitzboks will face Wales in their opening match followed by a tricky encounter against Canada on Friday. They close off their pool matches against England on Saturday.