Injury puts Blitzboks captain Soyizwapi out of Spain Sevens

24 January 2022 - 15:59
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Blitzboks captain Siviwe Soyizwapi has been ruled out of the Spain Sevens tournament with an injury.
Image: SA Rugby Blitzboks captain Siviwe Soyizwapi has been ruled out of the Spain Sevens tournament with an injury.

The Springbok Sevens have suffered a blow ahead of this weekend’s HSBC Spain tournament at Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla with the withdrawal of captain Siviwe Soyizwapi with an injury.

Soyizwapi, who got injured in the first match of the Malaga tournament last weekend while scoring his 13th try of the season, will be replaced by Shaun Williams.

As a result of the injury, Soyizwapi did not take any further part in Malaga where the Blitzboks went on to secure a fifth consecutive World Rugby Sevens Series tournament win.

Impi Visser, who took over the captaincy from Soyizwapi in Malaga last weekend, will lead the South Africans in the fourth tournament of the 2022 World Series.

The 23-year-old Williams, who was part of the squad that won the previous four titles after making his debut in Vancouver and then played in Edmonton and Dubai, has scored eight tries in his 20 matches for the Blitzboks so far.

“It is never nice to replace someone who is injured, and I hope ‘Shakes’ is back to full fitness in no time. This does give me another opportunity to join the guys on tour again and contribute and that is something to look forward to,” Williams said before he flew out to Spain on Monday.

Meanwhile, a number of Blitzboks achieved personal accolades in Spain with Selvyn Davids named Player of the Final after his extraordinary performance in which he scored the match-winning try two minutes past the buzzer in the final.

“It is something you dream about, scoring the winning points, so it is a great feeling,” said Selvyn Davids. “I was just the lucky guy who was in the right place at the right time though, as the team created the try — everybody had a hand in that try.

“We play for each other in this team, so for me to say the try as mine would not be correct. I scored it, but the team created it. We don't play for ourselves, but for each other and the greater good of the team.”

Branco du Preez became the most successful Blitzbok in World Series history by winning his 22nd title.

Du Preez is already the most capped player for SA and has seen it all in a career that started in 2010.

“We had some old heads in the squad and that helped in those final minutes. The guys kept their heads and used their experience. The never-say-die attitude in the squad also helped,” said Du Preez.  

For Mfundo Ndhlovu, who made a successful return to the World Series having last played in 2020, winning the tournament was a special feeling.

“It made the return to play process worth it. We are blessed to be able to play the game we love, and to do so among such a great group of guys is just amazing. We really play for each other and that is what is making these wins so special,” he said.