Mthatha-born Old Dalian to captain Blitzbokke
Mthatha-born Old Dalian happy to take armband
Former Southern Kings flyer Siviwe ‘Shakes’ Soyizwapi has been handed arguably the biggest opportunity of his Blitzbokke Sevens career when he leads the team at the upcoming Hong Kong leg of the Sevens series this weekend.
Soyizwapi, who left the Kings in 2015 to pursue his career in Sevens fulltime, has over the last few years established himself as a regular and important cog in coach Neil Powell’s side.
His impressive performances led to him becoming a part of the leadership group, and this culminated with him taking over the captaincy from regular captain Philip Snyman when he picked up a head knock in the most recent leg in Vancouver, Canada.
Soyizwapi then helped lead the side to their first series win of the current season.
“It is a huge honour and was exciting and very humbling to lead this team,” said Soyizwapi to the Dispatch.
“It did not come as a surprise, as the coach mentioned it in Vegas already that if anything was to happen to our captain Philip, I would have to take over.
“I think the side landed their [Vancouver title] through their hard work, persistence, perseverance and never-say-die attitude, and lifting that trophy as captain with Philip is just an indescribable feeling.”
Soyizwapi was born in Mthatha and went to school in King William’s Town, where his form at Dale College saw him picked for the Border Craven Week team, from where he enjoyed a stint in the SA U18 high performance team and then moved into the EP Kings Academy set-up.
He is now representing the region at the highest possible Sevens level.
“I fell in love with rugby at Dale. It was at Dale where I got hope to ever think that I want to play as a pro, and I was at Dale when I got my first breakthrough,” said Soyizwapi.
“I am very happy to represent the Border region. It gives a lot of hope to the youth that are in similar positions as I was, and it also gives the people back home pride in having one of their own on the biggest stage.”
Soyizwapi will now look to build on his recent successes and try and lead the Blitzbokke to back-to-back titles in Hong Kong, with Snyman set to resume his captaincy duties if cleared for duty in next weekend’s leg in Singapore.
“I just want to lead by example, on and off the field,” said Soyizwapi.
“It is a big moment for me to lead this team in Hong Kong, but I trust my brothers to carry out their roles and trust the system.
“I am comforted by the fact that I have guys like Justin Geduld, Chris Dry, Werner Kok, Branco du Preez along side me, who have quite a few tournaments under the belt and will offer a lot of experience to help lead the team this tour.
“What will be most important is consistency, not only from our performances from Vancouver to Hong Kong, but also to be consistent with each game.”
The Blitzbokke kick-off their Hong Kong campaign just after midday (local time) on Friday against Japan, before rounding out their pool stage play on Saturday morning with matches against Scotland and Samoa, while the tournament final is scheduled for Sunday at 12.55pm...