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Coach calls on Blitzboks to play without 'fear’ as Cape Town drought continues

By Finn Morton
The Blitzboks players huddle up at the Cape Town SVNS. Picture: World Rugby

Blitzboks assistant coach Philip Snyman has called on his team to play with “confidence and not out of fear” after South Africa failed to win their home SVNS Series event for another year.

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South Africa hasn’t tasted championship success in front of their home fans since the Cape Town SVNS in the 2015/16 season, and that drought will continue for at least another year.

After starting their campaign in the Western Cape with two wins from as many starts, the Blitzboks were bested in a two-point thriller against Ireland in an upset on Saturday evening.

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But it just went from bad to worse for last weekend’s Dubai SVNS champions who were blitzed by surprise package Australia 28-nil on Sunday morning, and then defeated by New Zealand later on.

The All Blacks Sevens, who had lost three of four games at the Cape Town SVNS before playing South Africa, ran riot as a Cody Vai double inspired a comfortable 31-7 win.

“The last tour started in Dubai, fantastic win there and that’s in the past now. Started off great here in Cape Town but unfortunately the last three games didn’t go our way,” coach Snyman told reporters.

“It’s only ourselves (to blame)… we were a little bit slow to react to opportunities, we gave ball possession away out of character and also missed a lot of tackles.

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“One thing that we must go and look at (is) if we keep the ball in hand we can punish teams, but the moment we start chasing games and we don’t have control, then we struggle.

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“We need to look at ourselves and fix those mistakes.”

The vibrant home crowd at the Cape Town Stadium was incredibly vocal whenever the Blitzboks took the field, and that passionate support seemed to spur the South Africans on for a while.

Uncharacterised errors from superstar players made their way into the Blitzboks’ game, and opposition players tended to pounce on these mistakes as they ran away with big wins.

The pressure of the occasion seemed to play a part, as well as what appeared to be fatigue under the evening sun in Cape Town.

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“We’re going one game at a time and obviously the first two games went to plan. After that we struggled to get momentum and I think it all started with doing stuff out of character,” Snyman said.

“We need to come back stronger so it’s definitely something we’ll be looking at; how to handle that pressure, if it’s pressure from the outside, if it’s pressure from the inside.

“But one thing we must make sure is this team operates out of confidence and not out of fear then we will be successful.”

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