justin geduld blitzboks

The Blitzboks face a daunting draw at the Grand Finale in Madrid this weekend. Image: SA Rugby website

Blitzboks face daunting task at Grand Finale in Madrid: Full draw

Thanks to their seventh-placed finish in the regular season, the Blitzboks face a daunting draw at the Grand Finale in Madrid this weekend.

justin geduld blitzboks

The Blitzboks face a daunting draw at the Grand Finale in Madrid this weekend. Image: SA Rugby website

The record books will reflect that South Africa won the last two HSBC SVNS tournaments in Spain – Malaga and Seville in 2022 – and for Justin Geduld, playing in his 60th world series tournament for the Blitzboks this weekend, those achievements can be repeated.

The experienced flyhalf played in both tournaments two years ago, and although he suffered a serious knee injury in the second, Geduld is eager to set boots onto Spanish soil again and come away with more Cup memories as the 2024 series concludes with the Grand Finale in Madrid.

‘Injuries are part of the game’

“The injury in Seville was a bad one for me and took me away from the game for quite some time, but I am very happy to be back here in Spain again,” said Geduld as the Blitzboks went through their paces in sunny Madrid.

“Injuries are part of the game and at the time, I did not realise how long it was going to take me to get back.”

At the time of his injury, Geduld just played his 50th tournament in Malaga and will only now compete in his 60th, such was the effect of the injury on his career.

“The injury is a thing of the past and the positive was that it extended my career with the Blitzboks,” he said.

“I can now actually try and get to a third Olympics with the team.”

In 2016, Geduld was part of the squad that won bronze and in 2021, he was back again when they finished just off the podium in Tokyo, where South Africa placed fifth.

The Blitzboks will play in the Olympic repechage tournament in Monaco next month and although that is very much on the radar of the squad, they will use this final HSBC SVNS opportunity to fine-tune their game even more, as they are getting to grips to the changes expected and implemented by interim-coach, Philip Snyman.

“We are all very keen to play in that tournament, but for now, we need to use this opportunity to show we are the right players for that one too,” said Geduld.

“There is a strong belief in the squad about our capabilities and what is needed to be successful. Things are coming together nicely, and the improvement is there for everyone to see.

“We enter the tournament with clarity about our plan and how we want to play this weekend. If we execute well, we will be successful in Spain again.”

Blitzboks in Pool B

The top eight-placed teams from the first seven previous events in the 2023/24 SVNS series will compete in Spain.

The teams placed between ninth to 12th will compete in a promotion/relegation-style event with the top four teams from the men’s and women’s Challenger Series to decide which teams stay as core teams. 

Teams have been split into pools based on their seeding during the regular season and Challenger Series.

Thanks to their seventh-placed finish in the regular season, the Blitzboks have been drawn in Pool B alongside Ireland (second place), New Zealand (third place) and sixth-placed Fiji.

The Blitzboks will face Ireland on Friday, 31 May at 14:37 (SA time) in their opening pool match.

They will then face New Zealand at 13:44 (SA time) and Fiji at 16:49 (SA time) on Saturday, 1 June.

POINTS STANDINGS

RankCountryPoints
1Argentina106
2Ireland104
3New Zealand93
4Australia83
5France80
6Fiji80
7South Africa68
8Great Britain53
9USA52
10Spain36
11Samoa29
12Canada14