South African Sevens Teams Proud To Play At Home – Cape Town SVNS 2023
The second leg of the new SVNS Series season will take place in the Mother City, at the Cape Town SVNS 2023. On Thursday 7th December, SA Rugby took its two sevens teams to the summit of the famous Table Mountain, as the media pack followed the team for essential pre-tournament content.
We asked the SA duo of Nadine Roos and Ryan Oosthuizen about their thoughts of the new season, the Cape Towns SVNS and of returning to Asia for the Hong Kong and Singapore legs in 2024.
Photo Credit – South Africa team event prior to the HSBC SVNS at Table Mountain on 7 December, 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa – Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby
In line with World Rugby’s commitment to grow the women’s game, the organisers said that all HSBC SVNS events will see men’s and women’s teams sharing the platform equally to showcase their incredible strength, speed and skill on the biggest stages around the world.
In Cape Town, this means that there will be matches played in the main DHL Stadium and outside on a nearby B field. Logistically it will be interesting to see how this works. A similar format was implemented in Dubai last weekend (and with free streams available via RugbyPass), it means fans shouldn’t miss out regardless of which teams they support.
Welcoming the teams and fans to Cape Town, Geordin Hill-Lewis, Executive Mayor of Cape Town said: “To all the players, coaching and management teams and, most importantly, the thousands of traveling fans who have made their way to Cape Town for the HSBC SVNS CPT, I wish you a very warm welcome to the Mother City.
Sevens and Cape Town have a wonderful decade-old relationship, with our city putting on a show every year that must surely rank among the highlights of the season. For us, the annual SVNS tournament is one of the most important events on our calendar as the world tunes in to Cape Town during a magical time of the year and sees our city at its very best. We are ready to put on our best SVNS party yet, and our iconic DHL Stadium with its brand new pitch, is going to set a standard in this competition that will not easily be matched.”
Cape Town SVNS 2023 – Blitzbok & SA Women On A Mission
Among the throng of media, support staff and a cluster of fans atop of Table Mountain on Thursday afternoon, the deputy mayor of the city – and former Stormers and Springbok player Eddie Andrews, also was with the two South African teams – there was a real sense of camaraderie among both sides and their management.
The Blitzbok men, despite their stellar record in Dubai, were perhaps surprise winners in the first SVNS leg after a tough 2022-2023 season, and one which has seen them still not qualify for the 2024 Olympics (although they will have one last chance at the Repechage event). They have also not won in Cape Town since 2015 which Oosthuizem was well aware of.
“One of our season’s goals is to win in Cape Town. But this new format of the SVNS means we have the women with us at each leg, and it’s special to have them with us – it brings a different vibe.”
He added on the level of competitiveness of SVNS, “The actual format means it is way more competitive and there’s no easy games. I mean, your first game could be against the top team in the world, it could be a Fiji, or NZ. So yeah, I like the competitiveness. That’s what we strive – to play against and be the best team in the world.” The player has 44 tournaments under his belt and has notched up 40 tries for his team and is keen to make a real impact with this rejuvenated team which has brought in debutants but also sees the likes of Rosco Specman return.
The SA women 7s qualified this season as a core team after winning the Challenger Series, hosted at home earlier in 2023. They really were outstanding in Dubai and nearly beat Fiji and NZ, which would have been huge upsets, but fell to the Japanese Sakura 7s to end up 10th overall.
Nadine Roos has a remarkable rugby story, and played for the SA women at the Sevens Rugby World Cup in Cape Town in 2022, the Challenger Series 2023, and then had a stint in Japan with one of their top sides, the Nagato Blue Angels, on a six month contract before returning for this seasons SVNS Series. She is also a member of the Women’s XV squad. In her sevens career, she has appeared in 6 tournaments and racked up 14 tries and is one of her side’s key playmakers.
On the teams showing in Dubai, she told Rugby Asia 247; “There were good performances from the team. And we want to build on that performance, we have set a standard in Dubai, and we strive towards that standard. Hopefully we can carry on with the home ground advantage.”
On the SVNS format, she added, “I think it’s wonderful, and there are so many quality games. So for us, it was obviously important to be successful to get to this stage and get the women’s game on the map. The competitiveness of teams who want to finish in the top eight, and for teams to avoid the bottom four spots, that brings out the competitive side of tournaments.”
Blitzboks captain Selvyn Davids also added of the time spent on Table Mountain, “The scenic beauty and to be out there taking it in was something else and very relaxing for the players. It had a relaxing effect, and we could forget about the pressures of the game for a while.”
Playing Hong Kong & Singapore Sevens 2024
Both South African players have played the Hong Kong Sevens, but the SA women have yet to compete in Singapore and 2024 will be the first time.
Oosthuizen said of the two legs, “I think Hong Kong is the pinnacle of sevens tournaments and the vibe is phenomenal. We haven’t yet won there and that is also something we are aiming for this season. Singapore just brings a different dynamic, and it is super hot and humid. I mean we haven’t really done well there either so these two tournaments we need to be on fire for!”
Roos said the ladies are taking this season’s SVNS tournament by tournament but that Hong Kong is a special place that they have done well at before, saying “it is one of those places, that when you come off the field you almost don’t have a voice anymore from all of the noise, and for Singapore it will be our first time, so we will have to see.”
On her stint playing in Japan, Roos added, “They do things differently but they’re very professional and they’re very disciplined – the work ethic they have as people I look up to. The style they have is so different and each player is so nimble and has great stutter steps. I remember my first time my toes were so sore from chasing all of their steps but that’s just the style of play.
So you almost have to be on the heels of your feet, and you really have to think and react quicker to normal, but gaining that experience was great and bring it back into the SA system.”
- Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens – 5-7 April 2024
- HSBC Singapore Sevens – 3-5 May 2024
How To Watch The HSBC SVNS
Fans can watch the HSBC SVNS action either via broadcaster partners or online on RugbyPass TV. All matches taking place on pitch two in Cape Town will be live streamed on RugbyPass TV.
Rugby Sevens News
- HSBC SVNS Cape Town 2023.
- World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 – Leg 1 Dubai Pools.
- Asian Rugby Sevens Teams – 2024 Challenger Series.
- Global Youth Sevens 2023 – Japan’s U18 Girls SDS Confirmed.