The 65-tournament veteran traveled to Las Vegas for the last nine years of his Springbok Sevens career. In four of those - 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2017 - the Blitzboks bagged the HSBC Las Vegas Sevens trophy. And two years ago, Du Preez celebrated his 50th tournament appearance in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in the Nevada city as well. Hard not to mention that to friends, family and fans. 

That good luck charm will be needed at the Sam Boyd Stadium next weekend, when South Africa contest the fifth tournament of ten in the 2018/19 World Series. Du Preez's strike rate in Las Vegas is due for a rebound. 

Come 2019 and the Blitzboks are not arriving as Series log leaders. In fact, they trail by 20 points after an indifferent start to the new season and are fourth in the standings, something unfamiliar to those knowing the defending Series champions appetite for winning.

Du Preez not only travels east from South Africa as the most successful Blitzbok at that venue, but also the most experienced. Only Kyle Brown (69), Frankie Horne (68) and Chris Dry (66) have played for the Blitzboks more times than Du Preez, who will move alongside Dry on tournament caps in Las Vegas.

The trio, all forwards, have aided to the Blitzboks cause with their physicality and size when they played, but Du Preez - one of the smallest players on the circuit at 166 cm - was named for his ability to read the game, to make the plays and to defend the last line with all of his 72 kgs of will and guts. The latter he did in spectacular fashion at this venue a few years back, rocking Canadian opponent, Adam Zaruba, into submission.


But guts and grit apart, Du Preez's left boot is probably his biggest weapon. In fact, no less than 385 times, the sweeper connected successfully with the ball, resulting in the flags being raised by the assistant referees. Du Preez's 383 conversions (he also kicked a dropped goal and a penalty, rarities in sevens), is the most ever for a South African and amongst the top ten on the all-time world list. 

Add his 85 tries and it is no wonder he has scored 1204 points already, second on the all-time career list for the Blitzboks, with Cecil Afrika (1430) leading the mark. 

His Las Vegas exploits has been almost unreal, his experiences as a Blitzboks very real. He missed selection to the squads that travelled to the Olympics in 2016 and the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018, but as the saying goes - you can't keep a good man down. 

For all South Africans - and the host of Blitzboks fans all over the globe - it will hopefully apply to the team as well come next Saturday and Sunday.