Springbok Sevens captain Kyle Brown says the team is in a positive mood ahead of the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend.
The Hong Kong leg of the World Series is recognised as the most celebrated and famous tournament of the season. It draws the biggest crowds on the annual schedule, while many teams relish the opportunity of lifting the trophy each year.
Hong Kong happens to be a tournament the Springbok Sevens haven’t won in South Africa’s history in the World Series.
However, skipper Brown believes the team has the talent and attitude to change this.
“Hong Kong is a fantastic place to be in. What’s great is that the first few practices have been so intense and the players are showing huge amounts of positivity and confidence. It’s great to see the squad smiling again,” Brown told MyPlayers.co.za.
“It’s a great celebration of a festival of rugby. In previous tournaments, we’ve seen all the fireworks and celebrations after the final, and as an observer, you really want to be in the middle of that celebration. We’d love to experience that.
“We’ve come close to winning the title in previous tournaments, so it would be great to win it this year.”
The Springbok Sevens currently top the overall World Series standings, followed closely by New Zealand and Fiji.
However, Brown stressed that the players are not stressed about the season table, saying: “We just want to make sure the rugby play speaks for itself this weekend.
“We took an extra week of after the Las Vegas tournament, and it’s been great to see the rise in confidence among the players as they returned to training. It’s too late in the season to implement wholesale changes… it just comes down to fine-tuning.
“We need to improve the plan that we have. We have an incredible plan and a talented squad. We know what we’re capable of when we play to our full potential. The key thing for our players is to try and contribute as much value as an individual. The guys need to make sure they fill their little gap in the team’s structure.”
Brown also credited the overall leadership in the squad as a huge asset.
“Experience is important. And I can say that I haven’t captained this team alone,” said Brown. “Frankie Horne, who has been playing tournament after tournament for about a million years, has a major calming influence on the youngsters.
“I’m lucky that I have guys like Frankie, Cecil Afrika, Branco du Preez, Philip Snyman and Chris Dry supporting me. They are able to help me out when I’m not on the right path. It’s reassuring to have those players behind you.”
During their time in Hong Kong, Brown sent a special message to the Proteas, who were eliminated in the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup on Tuesday.
“Hard luck to the Proteas,” said Brown. “They had an incredible World Cup. It was hard seeing them go down like that, but they did the country very proud.”