After only playing in four tournaments in the previous season and missing out to Olympic Games selection due to niggling injuries, the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series started off in impressive fashion for veteran Springbok Sevens playmaker, Branco du Preez.
The elusive runner in the Blitzbok set-up had a stellar opening weekend in the Emirates Airlines Dubai Sevens played in Dubai last weekend and is looking forward to another good showing at the HSBC Cape Town Sevens this weekend.
“I was in a bad space after those injuries, but needed to bounce back and be myself again,” Du Preez said. “I just wanted to make a positive contribution again.”
Du Preez, who along with Cecil Afrika are fourth on the list of all-time appearances for the Springbok Sevens with 46 tournaments, is the most productive Blitzbok goal kicker ever, with 271 successful kicks. He has scored 901 points, looking to become the second player after Afrika to move past 1000 career points.
“This season, I just want to live my dream again and play the best rugby I can. Playing with this team and the level the guys are playing it means that you have to be at your best if you want to contribute.”
Another big contributor last weekend, Chris Dry, is again keen to produce the goods. Dry make the most tackles in the tournament in Dubai (23) and want to contribute in any way possible.
“I am very happy just to be able to contribute to the team. They lift me to up my performance and hopefully I can do the same for them,” Dry said.
The forward, who will be playing in his 54th tournament, said it is important for the team to start at base zero again.
“We experienced a high in Dubai, but this week it was important to start at zero again and I think this training session was good in that regard,” Dry said after the team had a good session at the Green Point Track.
Ruhan Nel, who performances off the bench contributed to a number of telling scores for South Africa in Dubai, added: “It is important for the guys coming off the bench to deliver. Even if your contribution is just two minutes, you must make sure that it counts.”
Whether starting or playing off the bench, the contribution should be the same, he feels.
“I have started in the past and that is what any player want, but when you are playing off the bench, it should not change your attitude. You still need to deliver a performance that will be good for the team,” Nel said.