Avril Fillies has caught up with Springbok Sevens James Murvey. James made his debut for the Blitzbokke at the 2018 Hong Kong Sevens.
Avril – Describe the inclusion into the Blitsbokke in your own words after playing mostly for the Academy team.
James – I had been training in the academy side for about 2/3 months, were I had unfortunately not played a tournament as I joined the squad post Dubai and South America.
All my experience was based on Provincial 7s, Varsity 7s and then probably my biggest contributor was representing the Samurais in an international tournament at the end of 2017.
When I heard coach Marius call out my name as he announced the traveling team to Hong Kong, I got the largest shot of adrenaline, but at the same time, relief.
All my hard work and extra hours training had all paid off and the opportunity I had been dreaming of for years was finally before me.
Avril – You are now part of back-to-back champions and with the first leg of the HSBC Sevens looming in Dubai, what are you looking forward to this season.
James – Firstly, being able to be part of a back-to-back winning team is an honour and has been extremely humbling.
At this point, not knowing how selections are looking, I think what I’m most looking forward to this season is getting an opportunity to play and express myself and everything that I have been fortunate to learn in the past very tough 3 months of pre season.
Weather I am playing for the academy, or the seniors, my duty remains the same and my willingness to learn and grow as a player will still be hungrier than ever.
Another thing that I am excited to continue to do, is learn from my senior teammates.
The experience of these players is irreplaceable, and the effort they put into helping us youngsters is extremely generous and it just shows how they all value this successful system.
Avril – When you (Academy team) were sent to Hong Kong, nobody gave you a chance, what was the advice of the coach (Marius) to ‘his’ team
James – “OPPORTUNITY, this is your chance to grab it, it’s yours to take”. “Today nobody knows any of you, but trust the system and express yourselves and when you get on that plane on Monday, everyone will know your names.”
Avril – When you returned as the bronze medallist what was the response of your critics
James – Fortunately I had a lot more positives than those of negatives. To hear from players with over 60 caps “well done, you did seriously well, keep it up”, are the type of words I hold close to my chest. In terms of game criticism, the only criticism I listen to is the coaches. I had positive feedback, which I took into my training and team culture contributions.
Avril – How many tournaments as a Blitsbok have you played in thus far
James – I have played 2, both Hong Kong and Singapore.
Avril – What is your motto in live
James – “It’s not about how hard you can hit, but about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward”
Avril – What don’t people/fans know about you – maybe you are an undercover painter etc
James – I am a very passionate fisherman, love golf, oh and that I played provincial level hockey at school, and no rugby after grade 9.
Avril – Is it publicly known who your granddad was or not and if yes, what are people/fans saying about him
James – I think there is a misunderstanding, it is that my great grandad is direct family to Japie Krige. I do believe that I have rugby in my blood as both my grandads played provincially.
Avril – Was it expected of you to go the rugby route or was it your own choice
James – Going the rugby route was not initially my decision, it was only once I got to University, did I make the decision to play. With the aid of my family, I decided I wanted to give it everything thing.
Avril – You also received an accolade from Maties – what was that all about you are studying….
James – I received the Rectors Award for Sport. Initially this year yes I was continuing my course.
I am still currently registered to complete my PGd in Financial Planning (CFP), how ever with my recent inclusion in the 7s have slowed it down a bit and will pick it up again to complete it in the next year or so to come.
I have finish my undergrad at Stellenbosch, and did a Bcomm. Economics and Management Science. With a double major in Finance and Logistics.
Avril – I know that when youngsters become part of the Blitsies the senior players take them under their wings, who was that person for you
James – When have you decided to focus on 7’s instead of 15’s.
On the conditioning side, Sandile Ncobo (Stix) has really pushed me to boundaries I didn’t know I had and continues to push me to be the best I can be.
I think it’s hard to pin point 1. But the stand outs to me that push me positively in the right direction positionally are Phillip, Kyle and Chris.
Avril – Your hobbies.
James – Fishing, snorkeling, Game viewing and Golf
Avril – Describe a day in the life of James Murphy
James – I wake up a little bit earlier every morning, just so I can lie in bed for 15 minutes so that I can feel like I had a bit of a sleep in.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I cannot function without a shower. So that one’s first! A small breaky before training, but not too big, as I want to be able to keep my food in my stomach during our grueling session for the day.
Off to training we go. A hard day of training always deserves a good cup of coffee from our local hangout spot “Deluxe Coffee works”.
The most important time to focus on in the day is the ‘off’ time as this is what makes or breaks a professional athlete.
I always make time to recover after training and put my feet up for a short time (watch a movie or some series).
I was at Uni in stellies, and a lot of my friends are still around, so I try to make time to go and visit them when I can.
As the day ends, it’s time to phone the family and girlfriend, unwind, have a shower (because I can’t get into bed without one), some quiet time with my roommate henk (maybe reading a bible verse or chatting about it) and have an early night.
Avril – Highlights in your 7’s career
James – Running out for the first time for my first cap in a roaring Honk Kong stadium. And sharing Werner Kok’s 35th tournament with him.
Avril – What is still on your bucket list
James – Olympics, World Cup and Commonwealth Games.
Avril – The best advice that you’ve received from a teacher/older person that you still follow.
James – “Control the controllables” – Coach Ian Cambell-mc Geachy
Avril – Of all the tournaments that you’ve attended which one do you like best and why
James – Hong Kong – debut destination.
Avril – Who inspires you as a player and individual
James – My mum and dad.
Avril – Which rugby players have you admired in your younger days, locally and globally and why
James – Ever since before I can remember I have always looked up to team mate and now friend, Werner Kok. I admire his willingness to work, his humbleness and sense of humor.
Avril – You also have provincial colours in hockey, what skills of hockey can you apply to rugby.
James – This is a question I have struggled to answer in the past. But have finally come to an answer.
Everyone thinks that because I didn’t play in matric, I might not have the skill base or rugby brain to play. However I disagree.
I feel that to play any team sport at a high level, it takes a certain kind of mind set, ball skill, spatial awareness, agility, work ethic and ability.
The latte are all characteristics needed to play hockey, and run parallel with those of 7s rugby. When I made the change over I decided that I needed to make up 50 000 passes, to ‘catch up’ what I missed.
And contact work was an uncontrollable, but I believe that is a mind set.
Avril – You attended Bishops, what was the rivalry like with Rondebosch Boys High
James – I think at any school, rivalry is healthy. The one thing about rivalry is that no matter who you are or what you do in the school, it brings everyone together. This rivalry is a classic cape derby, and is an event no one should be left out of.
Avril – Do you know who else from Bishops is a 7’s player.
James – There is another 7s international, how ever he played for England – Matt Turner.
Avril – Who is James when he is not studying or playing rugby.
James – A practical Joker, and not very serious. Always keen to network and meet new people.
Avril – Who do you admire of the Blitsies and why.
James – I think this question can go further than the players. Coach Neil is admirable. His people skills, willingness to help and ability to establish balanced boundaries between mentor, coach and family.