Werner Kok feels that his inclusion into the HSBC NZ Sevens Dream Team was a result of him enjoying his time on the field with his fellow Springbok Sevens team-mates, but insists that the Blitzboks staying ahead in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series remains top priority.
Kok impressed all weekend in Hamilton, with some strong runs, try assists and a number of telling defensive interventions and was deservedly named in the traditional Dream Team afterwards.
“I am very proud of my team mates as they make things like these possible,” said Kok.
“It came down to the team, they allow you the space out there. I decided to try and enjoy every moment on the pitch this weekend, and I did.”
Kok made the most tackles in Hamilton (27) and is leading the Blitzboks’ tackle count with 61 tackles this season. And although they will be losing players such as Kwagga Smith, Seabelo Senatla and Tim Agaba to Vodacom Super Rugby for now, he sees it as an opportunity, rather than a challenge.“The next four weeks will be tough, some players are injured and we are losing some star players, so it will be a good challenge for our system and depth,” said Kok.
Kyle Brown, who was stand-in captain in Hamilton following the injury to Philip Snyman, also heaped praise on the Blitzboks, despite the defeat to Fiji in the final.
“The final in Hamilton was a fantastic game of sevens,” said Brown.
“We were right in it, but unfortunately we lost control of the game. Considering the tough week we had with injuries, we were still pleased with the outcome.
“We lost Philip and Ruhan (Nel) after Sydney, Kwagga rolled his ankle early in the week and then Muller (du Plessis) got injured shortly after his arrival in New Zealand. Branco du Preez only joined us at 01h00 on the morning of the tournament, and then Dylan Safe, Justin Geduld and Rosko Specman all got injured during the second day, which also did not help.”
Brown felt the team showed great courage though: “We have named these tours the ‘no excuses tours’, and this was a ‘no excuses weekend’.
“We had to dig really deep and I am proud on our effort. We will have to do so again come Las Vegas in a couple of weeks’ time. Eight points is a lead, but not one that we can bank on,” said Brown.
The team’s next assignment is the HSBC USA Sevens in Las Vegas from 2-4 April.