The Blitzboks in a huddle. Photo: SA Rugby website

Blitzboks newcomers inspired by the likes of Kwagga, Kolbe

As the Blitzboks prepare for a new season, it’s no surprise that some young players will be motivated by the exploits of past superstars.


The Blitzboks in a huddle. Photo: SA Rugby website

A decade ago, a number of 20-year-olds joined the SA Rugby Sevens Academy – as it was known at the time – and not too long after joining the set-up in Stellenbosch, engrained their names in the history books of the Springbok Sevens.

ALSO READ | All Blacks complain again about World Cup final officiating

At the time, the names of Kwagga Smith, Cheslin Kolbe, Warrick Gelant, Seabelo Senatla and Justin Geduld were foreign to overseas commentators of the now renamed HSBC SVNS circuit, but not for long as they would become part of a great Blitzbok generation, who won gold at the Commonwealth Games, back-to-back World Series titles and an Olympic bronze medal.

Smith, Kolbe and Senatla achieved their Olympic dream in 2016 with a podium finish in Rio before moving to the fifteens game, where more glory awaited.

ALSO READ | Three ‘new’ players who should make Springbok debut next year

Blitzboks a breeding ground for success

Smith and Kolbe won back-to-back Rugby World Cups with the Springboks in 2019 and 2023. Gelant – himself a RWC winner in 2019 – and Senatla helped the Stormers to the inaugural Vodacom United Rugby Championship title, while Geduld was part of the Western Province team that won the Currie Cup before focussing on sevens.

ALSO READ | Could a “next gen” Springboks backline look like this?

All five also played for the Junior Springboks earlier in their careers, which may have been a hint of things to come.

Fast forward 10 years later as two Junior Boks, Katlego Letebele and Quewin Nortje, fresh from a World Rugby U20 Championship bronze medal effort, walked into the Blitzbok set-up only to be welcomed by a third in Masande Mtshali, who already played sevens for South Africa at the age of 19.

These newcomers will all be hoping for opportunities as a new season beckons on the horizon of the World Rugby Sevens scene.

The full SVNS 2023-24 schedule

  • Dubai: December 2 and 3, 2023
  • Cape Town: December 9 and 10, 2023
  • Perth: January 26-28, 2024
  • Vancouver: February 23-25, 2024
  • Los Angeles: March 2 and 3, 2024
  • Hong Kong: April 5-7, 2024
  • Singapore: May 3-5, 2024
  • Madrid Final Series: May 31 to June 2, 2024

ALSO READ | Who will Springboks play first as back-to-back World Cup winners?