Soyizwapi can ‘Shake’ up Blitzbokke

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The former Southern Kings fullback, whose nickname is “Shakes”, will make his debut for the Blitzbokke at the National Stadium in Hong Kong on Friday, when the South Africans face England in their opening Pool B game (2.50pm SA time).

Their remaining group fixtures will take place on Saturday against Russia (7.54am) and Scotland (11.54am), with the Cup quarter-finals kicking off early on Sunday morning.

Soyizwapi was handed a two-year Blitzbokke contract by SA Rugby last November, but has stayed on the sidelines with a groin injury. Having played Super Rugby for the Kings, the big stage won’t overawe the 23-year-old from Mthatha.

After receiving his Blitzbokke jersey upon arrival in the Far East this week, he cannot wait to get on to the field and help the South Africans to win their first ever Hong Kong title. “They gave it (the jersey) to me in the huddle and I felt so happy. I feel really privileged to be able to get the jersey and I am really honoured to have the Springbok on my chest,” Soyizwapi said on SuperSport TV.

“As a team we really want to pick up a win here in Hong Kong, and hopefully I can contribute to that success as well. The Olympics are at the end of the year (end of the season) and I really want to take this opportunity and do my best. Hopefully I can be in that team at the Olympics.”

Blitzbokke coach Neil Powell says Soyizwapi and Ryan Kankowski, who makes his return to the Sevens set-up after many years, have impressed in training. “There are still one or two players we want to test, in Ryan Kankowski and Siviwe Soyizwapi, and while Stephan Dippenaar is a senior player in our system, this will be his first tournament this season,” Powell said from Hong Kong.

“I think Ryan and Shakes, as we call him, have done enough in the training sessions for us to get excited about what they can do on the circuit. So, hopefully we can give them enough time on the field to really test them.”

The Blitzboks are second on the World Rugby Sevens Series log on 105 points, just one behind leaders Fiji and one ahead of New Zealand in third.

ashfak.mohamed@inl.co.za

@IndyCapeSport

Original source: Soyizwapi can ‘Shake’ up Blitzbokke

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