DUBAI, 24 November 2021 – South Africa’s national Rugby Sevens team the Springboks, fondly known as the Blitzboks, toured Expo 2020 Dubai on Wednesday ahead of the upcoming Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, which kicks off on 2 December.
Branco du Preez, Utility Back/Sweeper, Springbok Sevens, who became the most-capped Springbok Sevens player of all time in 2018, said: “I’m really happy and excited to be back in Dubai. The Emirates Rugby Sevens is one of the tournaments that people love to come to. Everyone is doing their homework and wants to be better on the day.
“It’s amazing to be standing in the South Africa Pavilion today – it brings back memories of the older people, who made things possible for the current generation and to learn new things.”
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Ashley Evert, Team Manager & Performance Analyst, Springbok Sevens, said: “It was a really tough time when we finished off in Vancouver in 2020 and were then told the rest of the season will be pretty much cancelled, so we are really enjoying being in Dubai. There are so many expats here and we get incredible support. The Emirates Rugby Sevens is a tournament that we’ve been the most successful at. It’s also a new time in South Africa for Sevens – we’ve got a whole lot of players who have moved onto Fifteens. It’s very important for us to put good foundations in place so that we can give ourselves this opportunity to do well.
“And it’s incredible to be at Expo 2020 – with all these countries showcasing incredible things and to be reminded of how blessed we are to live in such an incredible country [South Africa] with so much potential and so much to offer. These are difficult times but South Africans have the ability to always bounce back and show the world that irrespective of what might be in front of us, we have dedication, commitment and heart – we hope everyone, who comes to Expo and comes and visits us, gets to see this.”
Neil Powell, Coach, Springbok Sevens, said: “Normally, we come to Dubai every year, and after a year’s hiatus, it’s great to be back in the Sevens community and to see all the other cultures.
“Expo 2002 is really amazing and to see the South Africa Pavilion showcase what South Africa is all about, from the different cultures of South Africa to innovations and exports and also the icons, like Nelson Mandela. It’s great that we show the world what we’re all about, and we want to thank all those who are making this possible.”