Springbok Sevens captain Philip Snyman will represent South Africa for the 50th time in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series when the HSBC Sydney Sevens tournament kicks off in Allianz Stadium on Friday.
The 30-year-old player made his Blitzbok debut in 2008 in Dubai, and has been part of both squads that won the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series titles, in 2008/09 and again in 2016/17.
Snyman also lead the Blitzboks to victory last year in Sydney and he feels if they want to be successful again, personal milestones will have to take a backseat.
“It is a massive honour for any player to play 50 tournaments and to be able to do it in a Springbok Sevens jersey just makes it even more special for me,” said Snyman.
“I did not think too much about it, to be honest, my focus was more to go out and hit the pitch with my brothers and to enjoy that. The fact that I can share it with friends and family makes it very rewarding on a personal note.
“We have set goals for ourselves this weekend though and it does not matter whether it is your 50th tournament, your first or tenth, you need to go out and contribute equally. We all have a role to play for the team to achieve their goals.”
The jersey hand-over ceremony, where Snyman received a gold cap to commemorate his achievement, was special, with Kyle Brown (60 tournaments) and Cecil Afrika (55 tournaments) on hand to welcome the sixth Blitzbok ever to play in 50 tournaments. Frankie Horne (68), Chris Dry (63) and Branco du Preez (57) are the others.
Representing South Africa in 50 tournaments was a box he wanted to tick, admitted Snyman.
“It was a goal for me, yes,” he said.“I have never played in a Commonwealth Games, so if all goes well, I will be able to do that as well in April. The Rugby Sevens World Cup in July is another where I hope to be. I have been to two, but we lost in the quarter-finals in both, so I hope to be involved in a team that could perhaps win it,” added Snyman, who also collected a bronze medal in Rugby Sevens at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The captain however was keen to move the conversation to the Sydney Sevens: “We need to be more clinical, use our opportunities and step up on defence. We really pride ourselves on our defence, but in the last couple of tournaments, we did not perform as well as we can in that regard.
“If we can stick to those goals, the results will look after itself this weekend,” said Snyman.
Blitzboks’ schedule (SA times):
09h22: Papua New Guinea
The Springbok Sevens squad for the HSBC Sydney Sevens:
1. Tim Agaba (12 tournaments, 61 matches, 50 points, 10 tries)
2. Philip Snyman (captain – 49 tournaments, 219 matches, 58 tries, 321 points)
3. Dylan Sage (17 tournaments, 93 matches, 100 points, 20 tries)
4. Kwagga Smith (30 tournaments, 147 matches, 300 points, 60 tries)
5. Werner Kok (31 tournaments, 163 matches, 365 points, 73 tries)
6. Kyle Brown (60 tournaments, 297 matches, 400 points, 80 tries)
7. Stedman Gans (4 tournaments, 11 matches, 5 points, 1 try)
8. Rosko Specman (23 tournaments, 123 matches, 288 points, 52 tries)
9. Justin Geduld (32 tournaments, 164 matches, 699 points, 77 tries)
10. Cecil Afrika (55 tournaments, 285 matches, 1335 points, 160 tries)
11. Seabelo Senatla (35 tournaments, 179 matches, 1015 points, 203 tries)
12. Ruhan Nel (23 tournaments, 115 matches, 202 points, 40 tries)
13. Sikhumbuzo Notshe (0, 0)*