Cape Town — Having only won their home tournament once before that, the Springbok Sevens side found the recipe to success by clinching the title three times in a row between the 2013 and 2016 seasons.
Since then, though, it’s been a lean run for the Blitzboks at the Cape Town Sevens since the 2015/16 triumph, with two runner-up and two third-placed finishes.
They will hope for better fortunes in their return to Cape Town Stadium this weekend, after a three-year absence due to Covid-19.
New assistant coach Philip Snyman was part of those winning teams on home soil, having also captained the national team, so he knows what it takes to handle the pressure of the home fans.
The new-generation Blitzboks under head coach Sandile Ngcobo proved that they have what it takes to be real contenders for the World Series title with a remarkable comeback to clinch the Dubai Sevens trophy last weekend, having lost to Great Britain in their first match.
They saw off Kenya and reigning series champions Australia, before getting the better of Samoa, New Zealand and then Ireland in the final.
That was after a difficult first event for Ngcobo and his team at the Hong Kong Sevens, where they lost four out of five games.
“What we realised last week was that if we do the small things right, the results come, and if we can focus on that again this weekend, there is no reason why we cannot have the same outcome. We need to focus on those here this weekend, not so much on the crowd,” Snyman said this week.
“The turnaround was frustrating. I wish I could tell you how we felt after the loss to Great Britain in the opening game in Dubai, and how that feeling changed as we started to turn it around against Kenya and then Australia, and getting better and better towards the final.
“We are turning things around now as the players are starting to execute and understand what we want from them.
“It is great to arrive in Cape Town with good momentum and a chance. We have seen what is possible if we execute – now for a repeat of that routine.”
The Blitzboks begin their campaign Friday night against Canada, before completing their Pool A fixtures on Saturday against Fiji and France ahead of the Cup quarter-finals later that evening.
Then they will hope to feature in the Cup semi-finals and final on Sunday.
“We really want to win this … it has been too long. We are searching for that perfect game, and in an ideal world, that will come in the final this weekend,” Snyman added.
“We will start at zero again with our mindset, but on the field we laid nice foundations to build on for the weekend’s matches against Canada, Fiji and France in our pool.”
Blitzboks Pool A Fixtures
Friday: Canada 8.03pm
Saturday: Fiji 11.19am, France 5pm