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By Sports Reporter

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Blitzboks backs to play the piano in LA Sevens, says Impi ‘The Mask’ Visser

"A school coach of mine used to say the forwards need to carry the piano and put it down for the backs to play, and it is pretty much the same principle here."


Impi Visser believes the Springbok Sevens team are good enough to come out on top at the end of the 2023 World Rugby Sevens Series and according to the Blitzbok forward, everyone in the squad is willing and able to give it their all at the LA Sevens, the sixth of 11 tournaments in the series, this weekend.

Visser, in his 27th tournament for the Blitzboks, knows what it takes to win a world series, as do a couple of his fellow forwards, such as Zain Davids, Ryan Oosthuizen, Christie Grobbelaar and James Murphy, and all of them will have crucial roles to play if they want to be successful.

Foundation for backs

“We need to lay the foundation for the backs to play,” said Visser.

“If we do our jobs well, the backs will prosper. A school coach of mine used to say the forwards need to carry the piano and put it down for the backs to play, and it is pretty much the same principle here.

“If we bring them energy, they will certainly play the piano.”

Visser feels the forwards’ experienced core has to count this weekend: “We do see ourselves as the engine room, and we accept our roles of getting the car on the road and running smoothly.

“The younger group among us, mainly backs, have a lot of potential and talent and it is exciting times for us to see them express that. I am looking forward to the next two weeks and what it can bring.”

Visser’s face mask and scrum cap

Visser will play with a specially designed mask and a scrum cap at Dignity Health Sports Park this weekend, the unusual appearance due to some facial injuries he sustained at the previous tournament in Sydney last month.

“It is all for the greater cause – the commitment from the team is such that no one will leave anything on the field,” he said.

“We are not scared to do that for the team. There were some bumps and bruises carried over from the Sydney tournament, but we are all fit, have been cleared to play and we are ready to do it all over again.”

Visser trained with the mask, and it was not long before nicknames appeared. Seeing that they are in Hollywood country after all, “The Mask” became the most popular.

“We had some time off yesterday and some of the guys went to the Hollywood sign for some pictures actually,” Visser recalled. “Today, it is back to training, which has been good. Everyone is ready for a good weekend.”

Blitzboks Pool B fixtures (SA time):

Saturday: 9.49pm: Canada

Sunday: 1.02am: Uruguay; 5.03am: Ireland

The remaining pools are:

A: New Zealand, Samoa, USA, Chile
C: Fiji, Australia, Kenya, Japan
D: France, Great Britain, Argentina, Spain

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