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Blitzboks debutant Quewin Nortje on the cusp of Dubai SVNS ‘dream’

By Finn Morton
Quewin Nortje of South Africa scores a try against New Zealand during the HSBC SVNS rugby tournament on December 2, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Martin Dokoupil/Getty Images)

Quewin Nortje’s first SVNS event couldn’t have been scripted any better up until this point. South Africa are off to the big dance in Dubai with the rising star shining bright this weekend.

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Playing at The Sevens Stadium in front of a passionate crowd that seemed to favour the South African side, the Blitzboks have overcome every challenge that’s come their way so far.

After beating Samoa in the first round of pool play on Saturday, the Blitzboks brought their A-game to a 35-14 demolition of Canada – with one young talent standing out.

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Nortje crossed for his first two tries on the SVNS Series against the Canadians, and the South African added another to his career tally against New Zealand later on Saturday night.

In a team full of superstars, Nortje has been a point of difference in key moments as the Blitzboks march ever closer to yet another Dubai SVNS title.

“It would be a dream come true,” Nortje told RugbyPass when asked what it would mean to take out the Cup final in Dubai.

“From a young age, watching those guys win in Dubai – and one of my friends who is also the same age won it last year and said it’s just amazing, especially the flight home.

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“It would be a dream come true.”

South Africa survived a slight scare earlier on day two as they overcame a valiant Australia side 24-7 in the opening match of play on Sunday.

But their biggest challenge awaited them in the next step. With one team standing in the Blitzboks’ way of their first Cup final since January, they needed to be at their very best.

That team was Fiji.  South Africa needed to be close to their best to get the job done in this highly anticipated semi-final, and they were pretty close to that standard on a sweltering afternoon.

Tries from Justin Geduld and Maande Mtshali proved to be the difference as the Blitzboks dispatched one of their traditional sevens rivals 14-7.

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“An amazing performance from the boys, especially against Fiji – you know how they play,” Nortje said.

“It’s just a massive performance from the guys. I’m really excited for my first final.

“From a young age watching (Seabelo) Senatla and all the guys play against Fiji, it’s just amazing to be a part of it now with Rosko (Specman) and Justin (Geduld) and all those boys.

“It’s just amazing.”

Nortje is one of two debutants in the Blitzboks’ group for Dubai with forward Katlego Letebele also named in the star-studded squad.

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But the headline-grabbing inclusion of returning great Rosko Specman has certainly piqued the interest of sevens fans the world over, and it seems the 31-tournament veteran is having an impact on young Nortje.

“It’s a dream (to play alongside some of the greats). The way they help you at training and especially in games.

“After the first game against Samoa, Rosko came straight to me and he told me, ‘Against big guys who must do this.’

“It’s just amazing. All the advice I get from them is just improving me a lot in my games.”

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