The South Africans pushed aside the discomforts of the COVID bubble and some thunderstorms that disrupted their training session on Wednesday, two days before the kick-off of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.


“We did not have such strict lockdown regulations since the Olympic Games I think, but because we knew what was coming and had lived though it before, we are not letting that element of the tournament affect us at all,” said Soyizwapi.

“We left Stellenbosch knowing what to expect and have adapted to the fact that limited movement will be the order of the day and that our hotel will be our best friend till Friday, when we will at least be out on the field to do what we love most and that is to represent the Blitzboks and play for our country.

“We also trained hard in Stellenbosch, where it was really hot, so we took the thunderstorms in our stride. It does make the ball more greasy, but it is good to have a session in weather like that, as we might encounter it during the tournament and if so, then at least we had experience of it. So we are making everything a positive at the moment.”

The players have been around the block and even the new coaching staff of Sandile Ngcobo and Philip Snyman were experienced Blitzbok squad members for many seasons and that eased the mind over the matter.

“The fact that both have been part of the system made the transition for us much easier and it is fair to say that the players and coaches are on the same page. Both want the team to chase that perfect game and play to our full potential this weekend,” explained Soyizwapi.

The traditional captains photo was also done on Wednesday and although it was indoors due to the thunderstorms outside, Soyizwapi said it made him realise that they need to front up again against the best teams in the world.

“Because of the bubble restrictions, the hotel does not feel like a big tournament is about to happen,” he said.

“But we were one of the last teams to arrive, so everyone was here already when we checked in and we realised then that we are here to do the business. Seeing all the captains also made me very aware that we are about to start the season and that was an exciting prospect to look forward to.”

Soyizwapi made his debut in Hong Kong in 2016 and said he is excited to see it back on the World Series circuit: “I am also keen to see this group go. There is so much potential in the squad and we have seen what they are capable of when we play to our full potential.

“Standing at the brink of that possibility makes me very excited to run onto the field in two days. My message to our supporters will be a simple one – we are still the team that will go out and do their best for you and want to make you proud to be South African. That fire will drive us this weekend,” he added.