Blitzboks cherish playing at home, says Afrika

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But the man who really makes the Springbok Sevens tick is playmaker Cecil Afrika, who was at the heart of the Dubai Sevens victory at the weekend.

The 29-year-old Afrika often ranges up from nowhere to create the overlap or deliver the final pass to Senatla, but the ex-Griffons fullback has enough pace himself to break the line as well, as he showed when opening the scoring against USA last Friday.

Afrika added two more tries over the weekend, including the final against Fiji, and will be a key figure in this weekend’s Cape Town Sevens.

The Blitzboks face Russia (12.49pm), USA (4.10pm) and Australia (7.56pm) in Pool A action on Saturday, and they will hope to emulate their unbeaten first day in Dubai.

The South Africans had a nightmare 14-12 defeat to Kenya on day one at the Cape Town Stadium last December, but recovered to beat England in their last pool match before going on to win the Cup title.

The tournament has already been sold out, and Afrika says that the Blitzboks can handle the pressure from the home fans.

“You only get one opportunity to play in front of your home crowd. We as a team really cherish that, and we would like to thank the supporters for coming out. It’s really been a challenging year for South African rugby in general, but we don’t focus on that – we just focus on what we need to do as a team to make sure we can give our best performance in Cape Town,” he said.

Afrika added that the vital aspect of beating Fiji 26-14 in the Dubai final was getting over a relatively disappointing Rio Olympics – where they came home with the bronze medal.

“We worked really hard in the off-season, and coming back from the Olympics, we weren’t happy with the results, but still happy with the bronze medal. But I think we really put that behind us and really focused on this particular tournament, and building up for the rest of the season,” he said.

“It was a difficult final, and it’s the first that we played Fiji after the London Sevens. They are the Olympic champions, but we focused on what we must do as a team, and the results went our way.”

ashfak.mohamed@inl.co.za

@ashfakmohamed

Independent Media

Original source: Blitzboks cherish playing at home, says Afrika

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