Kyle Brown would have preferred regular captain Philip Snyman to be with them in New Zealand, but under the circumstances, the Springbok Sevens veteran is more than willing and happy to take over the leadership responsibilities in Hamilton this weekend.
Brown was the regular captain of the side for a number of seasons, but stood down from the captaincy at the end of the 2015/16 series, when Snyman took over. Snyman, however, returned to South Africa due to injury, and Brown was again handed the captaincy by Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell.
“There are a good couple of leaders in the squad, and a great bunch of guys, so I am pleased to lead them,” said Brown.
“In fact, leading the team will not be the most difficult part of taking over from Philip. It would rather be on the field where he adds that something extra. He is ruthless on the ground and on defence and whoever takes over from him in the starting line-up will have big shoes to fill this weekend.”
Brown admitted their focus have shifted to the fourth tournament of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series this weekend in Waikato, rather than looking back at the HSBC Sydney Sevens, where the Blitzboks lost 29-0 to Australia in the final.
“We progressed so well during the week into the tournament and then came that final,” said Brown, the third most capped Blitzboks player ever.
“Australia were fantastic, but we were really poor. Maybe the moment was too big for us, but the fact is that we had some great matches during the tournament, such as the semi-final against the USA. “That is the type of performance what we want to replicate this weekend. We like to judge ourselves on our own effort and we did not implement that in the final. That will drive us this weekend.”
The 16 team captains were taken to the film set of “The Hobbit” near Hamilton for the official captain’s photo and it was a nice diversion for Brown before the real work starts again.
“The captaincy was slightly unexpected, but to be sitting outside Frodo’s house was incredibly interesting and almost surreal. We had a good laugh about it,” Brown admitted.
The two replacements, Zain Davids and Muller du Plessis, will join the squad in place of Snyman and Ruhan Nel, who also returned home injured, on Wednesday.
“We are looking forward to the weekend. I am happy for Muller, who was still at school last year, as we are looking to build depth in the group. He and Zain will be keen to slot in, but they only arrive in the early hours of the morning and the field session tomorrow will be testing for them for sure,” said Brown.
“The guys are flushed out and we will train as a squad tomorrow, which will get the focus back. As will the defence session on Thursday. The series have become just so unpredictable and we are expecting more of the same this weekend.”