Fortunes may have been won and lost in Las Vegas, but Springbok Sevens players Branco du Preez and Stedman Gans only have good memories of this iconic city.
Last year, Du Preez played in his 50th tournament for the Blitzboks in the Sam Boyd Stadium and to add to the occasion, claimed a gold medal as South Africa won the tournament. Gans make his Blitzboks debut at the same tournament after travelling to the USA as replacement player and then taking over from the injured Justin Geduld.
“This is one of my favourite tournaments, no doubt,” admitted Du Preez, who has been part of three tournament-winning squads at this venue.
“I like the fact that the pitch is slightly smaller and play a bit more direct. We have done well in the past and I am determined to contribute to another successful effort.”
Du Preez also values the time with the squad: “We are a bunch of friends, doing our best for each other and this tournament is just another opportunity to do that.”
In 2017, Gans was ecstatic after his debut for the Blitzboks also resulted in a tournament win.
“I was pleased then to be part of the team and I am pretty pleased to be here now,” said Gans.“Every moment with this squad is special for me and as I grow into my role and responsibilities into the team, I treasure it even more. It is such an honour playing for your country and to do it with these guys, makes it even more special.”
Gans hopes to become a permanent fixture in the squad: “I am getting more and more time on the field, and I am keen to use that to my advantage. Every time I take to the field is another opportunity to contribute and I cannot wait to do so again this weekend.”
The Springbok Sevens team are currently leading the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series after tournaments in Dubai, Cape Town, Sydney and Hamilton. The next tournament, after Las Vegas, is next weekend in Vancouver.