Avril Fillies spoke to some of the World Rugby Seven’s Captain’s ahead of the the South African leg of the series in Cape Town this week. This is the first year Cape Town will be hosting the Seven’s on the world stage at Cape Town Stadium with all available tickets sold out weeks ago for this weekend.
Nicolas Bruzzone of Argentina: We played well in Dubai and each of the 16 teams have a chance to win the second leg of the HSBC Sevens Series. It all depends on your performance of the day to progress to the Cup Final. We are a young side and are building towards the Olympics in Rio and in every tournament on the circuit we want to a crescendo in Rio.
It is going to be tough because the big guns like Fiji, New Zealand, England, South Africa will come out all guns blazing. We hope to improve on our last performance in Dubai but it is a tough ask.
John Moonlight of Canada: The return of Phil Mack and Nathan Hiroyama makes a huge difference to our setup with their experience. Add the value of Sean Duke to that and I think we are also in for a chance to win a tournament. With Canada being one of the new host countries on the circuit we are looking forward to hosting the world in Vancouver.
Tickets are selling fast, Sevens rugby is catching on in Canada and we cant wait to introduce our country globally. Please come and experience Canada and if you are a Capetonian, we also have a mountain and the sea, so you wont miss your country so much. If you are worried about cuisine we have the best sushi and other treats, but you must first come to Canada to experience it first hand, he said jokingly.
Collins Injera of Kenya: The rivalry between South Africa and Kenya is customary and each time we meet we try to outwit and outplay each other. Sevens in Kenya is huge and if we can learn from other countries on how to promote the game why not. You learn a lot from the different teams on the circuit but the golden rule is to do the basics right and use your opportunites.
The youngest player in our team is not 20 yet and he is absorbing everything to improve his game and help the team to finish strongly.
Scott Wight of Scotland: You have to be positive and believe in your teams ability at every tournament. Each team have game breakers and Lee Jones is our go to guy. After the Dubai tournament my son phoned and asked: Dad why don’t you score tries? I explained to him that it is not my job to score the tries but to create them.
Scoring tries is not easy against any team, we know each others playing patterns and styles thanks to video-recordings of each player, so you’ll have to be on top to breach the defence of your opponent to score, it wont come on a platter. Hard work, an eye for the gap and how to utilise space on the field are all contributing factors to scoring tries and if you can capitalize on your opponents mistake and score, then you are on the right track.
No team can say they are safe and wont be beaten, just look at what the USA did in Dubai by beating the All Blacks twice, as well as South Africa on their way to the Cup Semi-final.
Terry Bouhraoua of France: The gap between the big teams and the minnows are closing. When Sevens started it was only Fiji and New Zealand that were unbeaten when Eric Rush and Waisele Serevi were still playing then. Nowadays everyone has a chance, it all depends on if you are on your game come match day.
With the Olympics looming large everyone will try new things to peak in Rio and you can be assured interesting times lay ahead in the rest of the tournaments on the circuit. When I asked him why he cut his dreadlocks he replied: My hair was falling out and I decided to cut my dreads, don’t you like my new hairstyle? In Terry’s case it is definitely not the same as with Simson in the Bible who cut his hair and lost all his powers. Just watch him this weekend.
Madison Hughes of the USA: We take one game at a time and our performances in Dubai is now something of the past. This is a new tournament with new challenges and everyone knows now after Dubai what everyone can bring over the two days. You can see that the gap is closing and teams like France, Argentina, England and Scotland are no slouches on the pitch.
The experience and presence of Zack Test, the speed of Perry Baker and Carlin Isles and the never say die-attitude in the team, is boosting our self-confidence. I wont say we are over-confident after our performances in Dubai, that would be arrogant, but we know now that we can beat any team on any day, just depends if we come to the party one game at a time.
In the States rugby has to compete with American football, basketball and ice hockey, but by us performing well on the world stage, gives the game a boost in our country. I am looking forward to the weekend and hopefully we will do well again.
****This was written by Avril Christina who was the first female rugby reporter in South Africa in 1982, she was also the first female writer that toured with seven males to New Zealand in 1996. She was Media24 Sports Writer of the Year in 2008. Avril also coach Western Province Defence Team, Western Province Women’s Team and Maties Women’s Team