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Blitzboks excited about the addition of Spain to the World Sevens Series calendar

FILE - Springbok Sevens captain Siviwe 'Shakes' Soyizwapi. Photo: Supplied

FILE - Springbok Sevens captain Siviwe 'Shakes' Soyizwapi. Photo: Supplied

Published Jan 17, 2022

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Cape Town — Springbok Sevens skipper Siviwe Soyizwapi says they are excited about playing in Spain for the first time since the inception of the World Sevens Series back in 1999.

Malaga and Seville have been added as tournament hosts in the place of Hamilton and Sydney, and the Blitzboks skipper explained that the new tournament destinations - in addition to welcoming back Wales, Scotland and England to the circuit competition - gives them even more to look forward to.

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“Yes, it is almost a fresh start to the year, as we are heading off to Spain and not Australasia as we did in the past,” Soyizwapi said upon departure from Cape Town to Malaga via Frankfurt on Sunday evening.

“There is excitement because of the new venues and added to that the return of Scotland, Wales and England will be welcomed by all. It gives a new dynamic to the Series again, and it gives us different challenges.

Wales, Scotland and England participated as Great Britain last year in Canada and Dubai, and the South Africans beat the combined UK squad to triumph in all four tournaments to win the shortened Series.

“It is always good to be tested in different ways and having three ‘new’ opponents, as familiar as they were in the past, is great for the tournament and the squads playing.”

Neil Powell’s group has also been strengthened by the return of a number of senior players. With five changes made to the squad that dominated in Dubai, the Blitzboks have every reason to be confident in their chances heading into the weekend,

Welcoming back those experienced guys definitely has a “calming” effect on the group as they head into unknown territory, Soyizwapi shared.

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“Despite the unknown element of new venues, the calming part of the tour is the fact that we have five guys back from injury,” he said. “We have most of the guys back from injury now in our wider squad and that will make things easier.

“We don't need a different approach on how we want to do things, the five guys who came back are all very experienced and all have played for us before. They looked sharp in training and showed why they were selected in the first place.”

Soyizwapi also applauded the way Justin Geduld, Mfundo Ndhlovu, Sako Makata, Darren Adonis and Dewald Human got right back into the swing of things despite being away from the team environment for a while.

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“Although they might not have played in recent tournaments, their attitudes remained spot-on and they are still living the culture, which is great,” he said.

The Blitzboks were due to play England and Scotland as well as Fiji in Pool A, but the latter had their travel plans delayed due to positive Covid cases. World Rugby will make an announcement on Fiji's participation in due course.

@WynonaLouw

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