“We always enjoy playing in George,” said New Zealand Sevens Captain DJ Forbes. “There’s plenty of passionate support for us here and we’d like to continue from where we left off in Dubai.”
Alas, that’s one of the sad realities of rugby in the Cape. I remember Tank Lanning, writing in his blog on Sport24 after the George Sevens last year, saying how “irritated” he was at the behaviour of the South African All Blacks supporters in George. I can only hope that the BlitzBokke will shut that misguided lot up by doing the job on the pitch. Nuff said.
Forbes continues saying: “Sevens rugby is all about moment, and hopefully we’ll play some good rugby this weekend by continuing with our recent performances. It’s not going to be easy though! “I believe there are some fantastic teams competing on the circuit this season and we’re going to have to be at the top of our game in order to be successful this weekend.”
Meanwhile, the 16 teams competing in this weekend’s SA Sevens are ready to ‘Push the Tempo’ and are promising spectators to look forward to great non-stop rugby entertainment in George this weekend.
Springbok Sevens captain Paul Delport, New Zealand’s DJ Forbes, Patrick McCutcheon (Australia) and Jacques Leitas, the skipper of Zimbabwe all added their voices to the theme of the tournament by confirming their intentions to raise the bar in the 2009/2010 George event.
These four captains, together with the other 16 international skippers, attended the traditional Absa Signing Session in George on Tuesday.
New Zealand kicked off their 2009/2010 IRB Sevens World Series to the perfect following their victory in the Cup final over Samoa in the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens last weekend.
Delport, who was named captain of the Bok Sevens team for the 2009/2010 season, insists that his team has learnt harsh lessons from their experience in Dubai, where the Boks suffered two defeats – against Fiji (Cup quarter-final) and Australia (Plate final).
The SA Sevens team though, who are the reigning champions in George, are looking forward to defending their crown in front of their passionate home supporters at the Outeniqua Park stadium.
“The support we receive in George has always been phenomenal and our team enjoys playing here,”said Delport.
“We’ve put what happened in Dubai to rest and have identified some areas in our game plan where we possibly could have done something different. Hopefully things will swing our way this weekend.
“There’s not going to be any easy games this weekend. We’ve got France, Zimbabwe and then Kenya who will all try to defeat us. But we are the hosts and reigning champions and want to perform on home soil.”
The Australian Sevens team, who defeated the Boks in the Plate final in Dubai last weekend, is also looking to repeat their Dubai heroics in George this weekend.
“We were really chuffed with the result against the South Africans. But our aims are to compete and progress in the Cup draws,”said McCutcheon.
“Our intentions will be to try and improve our performance from our last game – which was against the Boks, and hopefully, by the end of the tournament, we’ll be in with a shout for the Cup section on Saturday.”
Zimbabwe, who joins SA, Kenya and Tunisia as the fourth African team competing in the Emirates Airline SA Sevens tournament, are also looking forward to the challenge of competing in George.
“We’ve played before in George and have also received some vocal support from the locals here,”said Leitas.
“On Friday we play France and then have two tough African derbies against Kenya and the hosts South Africa, who will want to prove a point following last weekend’s tournament in Dubai.”
Meanwhile, the Springbok Sevens team will attend a Sasol autograph session on Thursday at 12h00 at the Garden Route Mallin George. The other 15 participating teams will attend an SA Rugby Coaching Clinic at the Rosemore Stadium at 10h00.