HONG KONG – He has been around the block – and the globe – with the Blitzboks, and he arrived in Hong Kong for his eighth visit this weekend, so when Chris Dry said that Springbok Sevens team will aim “to keep things simple this week”, his advice will be taken to heart.
The 31-year-old forward will travelled to the Far East as the reserve player in the squad, but with 66 tournaments in the bag, Dry will provide a valuable sound board, not only to Blitzbok coach Neil Powell, but also to the rest of the Springbok Sevens squad as they aim to become the first South African team to win the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens on Sunday.
The Blitzboks played in four finals since the iconic tournament became part of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 20 years ago, but are yet to finish top of the podium.
Soon after the squad arrived in Hong Kong following a 20-hour trip that started in Stellenbosch on Saturday, Dry said that the squad will not get ahead of themselves in the coming week, instead focusing on their preparations for the tournament.
“It is a three-day tournament starting on Friday, so it is a short turnaround for us, but we will be keeping things fairly simple to start with," the two time World Series gold medalist said.
"I am 13th player this time around, so my first task is not on the field, but rather off it. For now I will be doing my best to assist Siviwe (Soyizwapi) as captain and guide the younger players where needed. I will also make sure they are kept honest on the training pitch,” he smiled.
His advice for now is to treat Hong Kong as just another tournament, despite the hype and history of this event: “You get the same log points here than anywhere else, so from that perspective it is all the same.
“There is a lot of hype yes and for many this is one tournament you want to play, but we are not going to make this one bigger than the rest," Dry added.
Springbok Sevens assistant coach, Renfred Dazel, who played at the event a fistful of times and contested two finals, said the team will not change anything to their normal routine.
“It has been a long haul to get here. We are slotting into our normal routine though and already had a gym session to flush out,” Dazel explained, agreeing with Dry that they are planning to “keep it simple”.
“We have a number of new guys, so we need to be careful not to overload them with information at this stage. We will get into our normal prep early and let the guys settle in before we fine-tune ahead of our first match on Friday.”
The Blitzboks’ first match on Friday is against Japan at 12.06pm (SA time).
African News Agency (ANA)