CAPE TOWN –They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. They also say it’s a flattery often unintended.
And while soon-to-be Blitzbok debutant Angelo Davids’ flattery of Sevens superstars Seabelo Senatla and Rosko Specman was so clear it doesn’t need any deciphering, another thing he made clear is that while he looks up to the duo, he wants to pave his own path.
Davids, 19, was due to make his Springbok Sevens bow at the Hong Kong Sevens last season, but an ankle injury robbed him of that chance.
This time last year, Blitzbok chief Neil Powell and SA Rugby Sevens Academy manager Marius Schoeman opted to send a youthful squad to the Hong Kong event while the seniors stayed in Stellenbosch to prepare for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with Powell.
Davids’ disappointment, thanks to injury, didn’t end there, as he had to watch from home how a young Blitzbok side defied the odds to claim bronze at the Cathay Pacific tournament.
Now, as expected, he’s keen to make up for lost time.
“If I can contribute the way they did, with their speed and feet, I will be very happy,” he said.
“In the end though, I need to be Angelo Davids, not a copy of someone else. I am very keen to go out and contribute.”
And just as his injury opened up the big Sevens door for somebody else last season, this time it’s the Stellenberg High School product who has had the favour returned following injury to Muller du Plessis.
“I missed out and it hurt, but unfortunately I had an ankle injury and could not play – since then, I have been dreaming of my next opportunity,” Davids said after his first field session in Hong Kong.
And as excited as he is, Davids admitted that the call-up wasn’t expected at all.
"I did not quite expect the call-up to Hong Kong, especially since the guys did so well in Vancouver,” Davids said.
“It is never nice to cover for an injury, but these things happen in rugby.”
The Blitzboks’ first match on Friday is against Japan at 12h06 (SA time).
It takes a minute but the memory lasts forever. It says “Welcome to the family, you are now part of the brotherhood”. Angelo Davids received his training jersey on Monday as the team stepped up preparations for @cathaypacific @OfficialHK7s @CastleFreeSA @FNBSA @ASICS_ZA pic.twitter.com/KThdZjJJrC
— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) April 1, 2019