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Tuesday Dec 12, 2023

Two time World Cup winner open to 7s switch

In a recent interview on the Boks Squad podcast at DHL Stadium during the HSBC SVNS Cape Town stop, two-time Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok Damian Willemse, expressed his openness to representing South Africa in rugby sevens at the Olympics.

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Willemse, who became the youngest player ever to win the World Cup twice earlier this year, played a crucial role in the Springboks defending their title in France.

Known for his versatility and all-around skill set, which allowed the Springboks to field different bench configurations during the tournament, Willemse believes these skills could translate well into the fast-paced world of Sevens. Speaking with rugby legends Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers, and Hanyani Shimange, Willemse revealed his interest in the Olympic format.

“It’s always on the cards. I would love to obviously play in the Olympics. You also need training, I think, as Bryan said, you need to spend some time, you know, on the field, training with the guys,” said Willemse during the podcast.

Emphasising the unique nature of Sevens, Willemse acknowledged the athleticism and skill required for success in the format, making it a dream for many rugby players to compete in the Olympics and, ideally, secure a medal.

The conversation extended beyond Sevens and the Olympics, delving into a memorable moment during the World Cup quarter-finals against France. Willemse recounted a surprising scrum call from a mark, a decision that caught referee Ben O’Keeffe off guard. Reflecting on the incident, he shared a humorous perspective, hoping for a positive outcome from his unconventional decision.

The interview provided insights into Willemse’s potential interest in diversifying his rugby career and showcased the camaraderie among former Springbok players discussing memorable moments and unique experiences on the field.

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