Snyman spearheads Blitzboks’ SOS mission in Hong Kong

HAVING taken over the reins at the Blitzboks, coach Philip Snyman begins his journey in Hong Kong. | BackpagePix

HAVING taken over the reins at the Blitzboks, coach Philip Snyman begins his journey in Hong Kong. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 30, 2024


OPERATION ‘Save Honour and Pride’ starts this week for the Springbok Sevens as they head to the Far East for the Hong Kong SVNS under new coach Philip Snyman.

After a dismal season so far, there’s been a coaching shake-up and some personnel changes for the trip to Asia to address their seventh spot on the current season standings of the revamped series. The Hong Kong tournament takes place from April 5 to 7.

The Blitzboks are still in it to win the overall title, but at the same time, two terrible displays over the next two tournaments could see them end up in the relegation zone, somewhere they do not want to be at all.

Under Snyman, though, the side won the first title of the season in Dubai and just maybe his touch will be enough to revive the side as they bid to climb the points table before they head to Madrid, where the Grand Finale will be decided in May and June.

Snyman decided to go for an experienced group for Hong Kong, where the Blitzboks are in a tricky Pool C with encounters against Ireland (5.39am today), who are second on the points table, Spain (8.23am), and Samoa (4.16am tomorrow) waiting.

While it may seem like an easier group to some, the Spanish and Samoans won’t be pushovers. The Irish will also try to make it as tough as possible for captain Selvyn Davids and his men to progress.

Dewald Human, Ronald Brown, Christie Grobbelaar and Quewin Nortje all make their return after injuries, with Rosko Specman and David Brits (both injured) and Tristan Leyds and James Murphy missing out after being part of the squad for the North American journey.

“We are acutely aware that our recent results were not up to scratch, and we owe ourselves and our supporters better performances, which is what we will aim to do in Hong Kong,” said Snyman according to a statement.

“It’s a tough pool and we will have to be switched on from the get-go. The nature of the World Series is that there is no room for error as any team can beat another side on any given day, something everyone is fully aware of by now.

“Our aim will be to get out of our pool and into the quarter-finals, and that is the only thing we are preparing for at the moment.”

The Blitzboks missed the last two knockout stages of tournaments and while they are gunning to break through to the play-offs, they will also be wary about missing out on another quarter-final and risk falling closer to the relegation zone.

They drastically have to improve, and if they do not, Olympic qualification could also become a concern. After the series, the Blitzboks must still qualify for the global showpiece via a repêchage tournament that includes the likes of Great Britain.

If they can get back on the sevens horse this week and start winning tournaments again, it will bode well for their campaign to qualify later this year.

Springbok Sevens squad for Hong Kong: Christie Grobbelaar (18 tournaments), Ryan Oosthuizen (48), Impi Visser (36), Zain Davids (46), Ronald Brown (16), Selvyn Davids (capt, 34), Shaun Williams (15), Dewald Human (23), Shilton van Wyk (18), Darren Adonis (13), Justin Geduld (58), Quewin Nortje (3), Katlego Letebele (5)