Blitzboks hope to make it count in Monaco

The Springbok Sevens squad are keen to make their third opportunity to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics count and join their regular foes at the Rugby Sevens event in Paris. France, New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji, Australia, Ireland, USA, and Samoa all confirmed their spots for Paris, and having beaten all of them during the HSBC SVNS season, the South Africans would want to join them at the Olympic showpiece.

According to experienced forward, Impi Visser, the team understands that this will be it for them should they fail to win the World Rugby Sevens Repechage in Monaco on Sunday.

“We really did ourselves no favours this time around,” said Visser in explaining their mission.

“First, we finished outside the top four in the Series and then we lost to Kenya to qualify through the continental route. That was not great at all, but luckily for us, we have one more opportunity and this time we must make it work,” according to Visser.

The Blitzboks arrived in Monaco on Monday and on Tuesday had a good training run at Stade Laurentin Rugby in the city of St Laurent du Var near Nice, which is 40 minutes outside Monte Carlo.

Visser emphasized that their Olympic dream is still burning brightly: “Some of us were in Tokyo last time around, but we did not get a podium finish, so in a way there will be unfinished business for us. However, the reality is that we need to get the job done here first, before thinking about anything else.”

Visser also represented South Africa at the Rugby World Cup Sevens and the Commonwealth Games and said playing for his country remains an unbelievable honour, and highlight.

“That will remain a privilege, and to be able to run out this weekend will be another huge moment for us, especially with what is at stake for us. We are determined and dare not disappoint the country,” reckons Visser.

Visser has seen plenty of knock-out tournament action before, but for Tristan Leyds, a 2024 HSBC SVNS debutant with the Blitzboks, this is an all-new experience.

“Talking about the Olympics is exciting, and one can get carried away about what is to come, but that is of no use if we don’t do the business this weekend,” said the lanky flyhalf.

“All that matter is this weekend’s performance, and we don’t look past that.”

According to Leyds he enjoyed his debut season with the Blitzboks.

“Let’s hope there is more to come,” he said about his debut season.

“People are getting to know how I play, and it is becoming tougher to be as effective on attack, for example, but that is what it is all about. You need to improve and grow as a player and be at your very best for the big occasion. And this weekend is such an occasion,” according to Leyds.

Issued by SA Rugby Communications

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Rugby.

Note to editors:
Audio notes of Tristan Leyds can be downloaded here (https://apo-opa.co/4ctjN3l).

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