The Emirates Dubai Sevens Trophy fitted nicely in Ricardo Duarttee’s arms as he walked around the Springbok Sevens changeroom at the completion of the second round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
He was smiling, crying and shaking his head, taking in a remarkable debut for the Blitzboks. Duarttee had a dream start in his Blitzboks career.
He scored four tries, including a brace versus Samoa and kicked five conversions after he had to take over the kicking duties from the injured Dewald Human.
“I had free reign almost, coach Stix [Sandile Ngcobo] told me to go out there and enjoy myself, but not to forget the basics… I did just that,” Duarttee said as the realities of the win sank in for the squad who needed this win in a big way.
“There was no pressure because of what the coach told me. I know it’s going to become tougher from here on in, but I will also get better the more I play. I’m so thankful for this opportunity. Now Cape Town awaits.”
Next to him, Shilton van Wyk was looking at his smaller trophy, that of Player of the Final with deep gratitude, thanking the Lord for the opportunity given to him.
The wing stamped his authority in the tournament on Saturday. First, he scored the match-winner against New Zealand in the Cup semi-final and then broke the game open in the final with two well taken tries against Ireland.
“The first time I got the ball I just decided to go. Our captain [Siviwe Soyizwapi] told us in the team talk that this could be the last time you play for this team, so don’t leave with regrets if that is the case… so I just decided I was not going to hold back,” he reflected.
“This is a wonderful win for us, it means a lot to the system, and us along with the coaches will take a lot of positives and confidence from this. For me winning the player of the final is a bonus. I went to out to play for this team and I’m pleased that I could contribute in such a way.”