Blitzbok duo raring to go in Vegas
LAS VEGAS SEVENS: Blitzbok playmaker Cecil Afrika is raring to go at the Las Vegas Sevens, after returning to full fitness following a spell on the sidelines.
Flyer Werner Kok, who missed the trip to the Nevada desert in 2016 because of injury, can't wait to get a taste of playing at the Sam Boyd Stadium again.
"I missed out last year  but this week realised again what an amazing place Las Vegas is. More importantly though, is the vibe around the tournament and I cannot wait to get started. I have very good memories here. It is an awesome tournament and I love playing here," Kok said.
The 2015 World Sevens Player of the Year picked up an early calf strain in Sydney and missed the play-offs - and subsequent tournament victory - so he is keen to add another tournament medal to his already impressive tally.
"It is never nice to miss out on a tournament, but luckily that niggle is sorted out and I am feeling fresh and ready to go. This is a fun tournament to be part of and I am happy to be here. Now we need to get onto the field and I am looking forward to that," he added.
Afrika complimented the structures of the sevens set-up and the high standards it demands from the players.
"It is great to be back with the guys, especially after missing out on those back-to-back wins in Wellington and Sydney. What struck me immediately was how trusted our structures are. I slotted in immediately," Africa said.
The playmaker is South Africa's leading point scorer in the World Sevens Series - 1167 points in 47 tournaments - but realises that his starting berth for the first match against Canada on Friday is far from secure, with Justin Geduld excelling in this role in Wellington and Sydney.
"Yes, Justin was fantastic in those two tournaments and one has to congratulate him on that. He played very well but that is a healthy thing in the squad. Players push each other all the time and I think that contributes to our combined effort as a team.
"Injuries are part of the game and the nice thing of rugby is that it gives another player a chance to show his worth. Justin certainly showed that," he added.
Afrika will be playing in his seventh Las Vegas tournament and is keen to contribute again.
"I am happy to be fit again and want to go out there, have fun and do my part for the team. It is the best time out there, when you are playing with your brothers, representing your country," he stated.