Justin Geduld believes he is afforded the necessary freedom on the field to express himself in his role as Springbok Sevens playmaker when the HSBC Sydney Sevens kicks off at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
Geduld, who has played in 28 tournaments for the Blitzboks, was hugely influential in the team’s performance in Wellington last weekend, where South Africa claimed a second tournament title in the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
With all-time leading points’ scorer, Cecil Afrika, ruled out for the trip to Wellington and Sydney due to a knee strain, Geduld was entrusted with the role of starting pivot and did not disappoint. In fact, he enjoyed the added responsibility, the 23-year old said.
“I have been in the starting role before, so it was nothing new to me,” said Geduld.
“The unfortunate injury to Cecil was a setback for all of us, but I realised this was an opportunity for me to step up and grab the opportunity with both hands. I had to get the team and the coach to have confidence in me and that was great to see that I managed that.”
Geduld scored 33 points in Wellington, but also made a telling contribution with his pinpoint kick-offs, defence and direction on attack.
“One has to be yourself and express yourself out there – you cannot try to be someone else,” said the Blitzbok playmaker.
“It helps that we have been together as a team for a long time now, as the guys know what to expect from each other. I can play with the freedom I need and I know the coach will back me.”The Capetonian said it will be important for the team to forget about the tournament win in Wellington and to start afresh in Sydney.
“No one is going to give us any hand-outs here. If we want to be successful in Sydney as well, we will have to earn it the hard way. We are all aware that we start at zero again,” Geduld concluded.
These sentiments were shared by veteran forward, Chris Dry.
“We will have a target on our backs, that is a given,” said Dry, who has played in 55 tournaments for South Africa.
“It was nice to win last weekend, but they will be coming for us in Sydney. The challenge for us will be to have the same mind set from last weekend, where we believed in the processes and the team. We will have to play for each other again, but that is the fun part.”
South Africa will face Japan (02h20 SA time), Kenya (06h15 SA time) and England (11h13 SA time) on Saturday.
- Stats Update:
Leading points scorers this season
- Seabelo Senatla 115
- Branco du Preez 77
- Justin Geduld 69
- Werner Kok 60
- Cecil Afrika 44