Siviwe Soyizwapi is embracing his new role as captain of the South Africa rugby sevens squad as the Blitzboks look to end their barren run at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in April.
Nicknamed “Shakes” by his teammates, the 26-year-old made his Hong Kong debut in 2016 and scored his first international try at the city’s storied stadium in the So Kon Po district. However, despite being one of the top teams in the world, the South Africans have yet to crack arguably the biggest tournament on the HSBC World Sevens Series.
“I made my debut in Hong Kong in 2016 and scored my first try there, so have good memories of that,” Soyizwapi said in an interview with South Africa Rugby. “To debut at the same venue as captain is another reason why I think Hong Kong is a great place.
“Luckily the rest of the players in the leadership group are around and there are a number of very experienced guys in the squad and I have their support. I never expected to captain the side to be honest, it is a massive honour and a responsibility I hope to fulfil with pride and ability.”
Soyizwapi, who is described as a product of the South Africa sevens programme, takes over as captain from Philip Snyman, who suffered a concussion during the squad’s triumph at the Canada Sevens in Vancouver on March 10 and is ruled out of Hong Kong.
South Africa are fourth in the standings on 89 points after six tournaments with the United States leading the way on 113 ahead of New Zealand (106) and Fiji (101). They face Samoa, Scotland and Japan in Pool A.