Happy Human hopes to contribute in Hong Kong

rugby02 April 2024 09:49
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Dewald Human © Gallo Images

Watching from the sidelines wasn’t easy for Dewald Human, but now that the Blitzbok playmaker is back from injury, he is ready to help and make a difference to the Springbok Sevens’ fortunes in Hong Kong this weekend.

Returning to the popular Far East stop on the HSBC SVNS series will be special for the fleet-footed 28-year-old, as he led the Blitzboks to Hong Kong in 2018, when a young team laden with future talent surprised all and sundry by claiming third place.

With the bulk of the main squad concentrating on the Commonwealth Games that year, a team with a youthful look travelled to Hong Kong. Human was the captain in only his third HSBC SVNS tournament, while the squad included Ryan Oosthuizen, Zain Davids and Selvyn Davids, all of whom were still very inexperienced in 2018, as well as five uncapped players.

The Blitzboks lost marginally to Fiji in the semifinals before smashing New Zealand to claim bronze, a memory that will stay with Human forever.

“It’s a privilege to be back here in Hong Kong – the last time we got a medal here, it was with a special group of players, many of whom were from the Academy squad, and no one gave us a chance,” said Human, who will play for the first time this year after picking up an injury in Cape Town in December.

“I’m excited to be back and to have an opportunity to showcase what I can do for the jersey and for my country. There’s a lot of quality and competition for the position I play, so I must perform.

“My task will be to provide leadership on and off the field, which is an important role. This is a more senior group, and we expect improvement.”

Human described Hong Kong as “a special place” where all the teams would like to stand on the top step of the podium, something that has eluded the South Africans since they first played in the Far East in the late 1990s.

“Everyone wants to win here which makes it a very difficult tournament, and also, we realise we haven’t managed to win gold here,” said Human.

“As a group, we are excited for this weekend. We know we disappointed a few times this season, but the squad are determined to do better, and you could see it in how they trained for this event.”

Human shared the sentiments of Blitzbok captain Selvyn Davids that the transition to Philip Snyman taking over as interim head coach was not difficult.

“We've been working with coach Philip when he was an assistant (to former head coach Sandile Ngcobo) and he was also in charge in Dubai when coach Sandile was not available, so we are all familiar with him and the adjustment has been good,” he said.

“Our main aim (for the remainder of the world series) is to finish among the top eight. We have two more tournaments left and we will give everything for the jersey and our country.

“For us it will be about the belief and our ability to perform, and if we do that, then the outcome will take care of itself.”