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Hopeful Blitzboks to ‘slog it out’ in Monaco

The South African sevens side has one more opportunity to grab a spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics, and making up for a dismal season.

Head coach Philip Snyman describes the Sevens Repechage in Monaco this week as the Blitzboks’ ‘most important tournament in the last two years’.

There can hardly be a better motivation for the Blitzboks and their haphazard season than winning the Repechage. Victory at Stade Louis II means joining the Rugby Sevens event at the 2024 Paris Olympics and that, according to Snyman, is exactly what they plan to do.

Snyman took over the coaching role halfway through a dismal season and although it was too late to steer the team to qualification courtesy of a top-four sevens log position (like the previous two Olympics), they do, however, have one more opportunity to do so.

“We are facing some really good teams this weekend, but we are also playing ourselves and I believe that our lead-up preparation has settled the mindset,” he says.

“We worked hard, especially on defence, and I have faith and confidence in the team that we selected for this massive task. A spot at the Olympics will give the season so much meaning.”

For Snyman, himself an Olympian bronze medalist in sevens, the lure of Paris is huge, but he is not looking past Mexico – the first hurdle to overcome tomorrow afternoon.

“We need to slog it out game for game. Mexico might not be a regular on the circuit, but we won’t underestimate them at all. Like us, they also have ambitions and we must respect that. We are just looking at ourselves and setting the tempo for Saturday and Sunday,” he says.

The coach believes the South African defence holds the key to a good weekend.

“We know what we can do with ball in hand, and our weakness was defence. That is a mindset, something I think we managed to turn around over the last couple of weeks,” explains Snyman.

Team captain Selvyn Davids, who played at the Tokyo Olympics, says a win in Monaco would salvage some Blitzboks pride and will of course put them in contention for a possible medal in Paris.

“This could be a massive turnaround for us. We did not reach our original target of a top-four spot, but now we have another opportunity, and we must use it. The squad is motivated, for sure. The Olympics are the biggest thing in sport and every sportsperson wants to be part of that. We have this big opportunity now and it will be silly to waste it,” he said.

Blitzboks fixtures:

vs Mexico at 16:44

vs Tonga at 13:44
vs Chile at 17:56

The post Hopeful Blitzboks to ‘slog it out’ in Monaco appeared first on SA Rugby magazine.

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