Dynamic 'team culture' key to BlitzBoks' success

Wed, 10 May 2017 13:41

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Rookie Ryan Oosthuizen believes the key to South Africa's success on the Sevens World SAeries this year is their dynamic team culture.

The 21-year old Oosthuizen, who in the Final of the Hong Kong Sevens, was speaking ahead of the penultimate round of the World Series - in Paris on Saturday and Sunday.

The former Western Province age-group centre travelled with the BlitzBoks to Hong Kong as the official reserve and then got called upon for national duty when Selvyn Davids got injured in the semifinals of the tournament.

Oosthuizen made a brief appearance in the Final against Fiji, which the BlitzBoks lost, and then was named part of the squad that hopped across to Singapore.

For the last two tournaments of the series, in Paris and London, Oosthuizen - now a 'proper' squad member - wants to add to the playing experience and time on the field, but more importantly, contribute to the overall effort of the team.

"I am extremely grateful to coach Neil [Powell] for this opportunity," Oosthuizen said.

"I am really excited and humbled to be part of the squad and just want to go out and do my part."

Oosthuizen admitted he was 'blown away' by the dynamic team culture within the BlitzBoks.

"The guys are so humble and down-to-earth. No one is treated differently. The brotherhood is something special."

He is keen to learn as much as possible from the likes of Philip Snyman, Tim Agaba and Chris Dry, who he will replace in the forwards during matches.

"They are amongst the best players in the world, so I will be watching their every step and will be taking in as much as possible."

The BlitzBoks are under no illusions about their responsibilities this weekend in France, where they will face Scotland, Japan and Canada in pool A on Saturday.

South Africa are currently leading the World Series standings after eight tournaments, 25 points ahead of defending series champions, Fiji.

Last year the Olympic Games was part of the World Rugby Sevens Series landscape and this year the very real possibility of being crowned series champions occupies talk around the BlitzBoks.

For Agaba though, it is all about completing the mission the squad set themselves out to complete, but in order to do that, it will be back to basics, the Olympic bronze medallist insisted.

"No, the anticipation of the Olympics was something different to the situation that we find ourselves in now," Agaba said.

"We are very mindful of our own processes and systems and what the job at hand is. There is no sense in getting ahead of ourselves.

"We will be focusing on what we need to do, game for game and tournament after tournament. We are treating all tournaments the same, getting backs to the basics every time and start from there. The results then tend to look after themselves," Agaba added.

The forward will be playing in only his third tournament of the year, after being injured for most of the season.

"There is no extra pressure on me to do something special. We have our way of thinking and playing and doing things, irrespective of the team on the field. I will try to contribute in a positive way, as usual," Agaba said.

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