Senatla hoping to switch Blitzboks for Springboks

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

He has been burning up the Sevens World Series and Blitzboks speedster Seabelo Senatla’s focus has switched to becoming the Springboks saviour.

The reigning World Sevens Player of the Year has been one of the stars of the Blitzboks in recent years, with 180 tries in 161 career matches, leads the 2016-17 series in tries scored and leads the all-time clean breaks (156), but Sydney will be his final tournament ahead of a switch to Super Rugby with the Stormers.

The 23-year-old has thought of his career in three phases, with a focus on XVs part of his second phase, with the dream to run out with the Springboks.

Seabelo Senatla wants to finish on a high. Photo: Getty ImagesSouth Africa had one of its worst Test seasons in 2016, with the blowtorch aimed squarely at coach Allister Coetzee, who took over the reins after the 2015 World Cup and Senatla said he was desperate to help the Springboks turn their fortunes around.

“I hope, firstly I get there that's the main thing and once you get there obviously because we have such a rich heritage and we want to keep it there and keep the Springbok tribe alive, we want to make a difference,” he said.

“We know how much we love rugby and how passionate we are about rugby in our country and to keep this level and the playing standards up there is something we adhere to and really look up to.

“As players, we try to actually either reach the level or we travel beyond that expectation that our country is actually setting upon us.”

Seabelo Senatla wants to scale the XVs heights. Photo: Getty ImagesWith Sydney looming as his Sevens farewell for now, Senatla said he would be putting his heart well and truly tucked away in his final tournament.

“The most important thing is not to get too emotional around the situation. once you do that, you lose the freedom of playing for the team,” he said.

“Obviously I would hope to give a little bit of something because I feel like this team has given me everything that I got until now,” he said.

“So, it'd be really nice to leave a nice gesture for them just to say, ‘Hey guys, thank you so much for what you guys put in me and this is what I'll leave behind for you guys,’.

“In saying that, [I’m] not putting too much pressure on myself, [I’ll] just rely on myself to play as expressively as I can and be as free as I can, I know that's when I play my best.”

While Senatla won’t be letting the emotion get to him, his captain Philip Snyman wasn’t quite so poker faced when asked about the looming departure of Senatla and Kwagga Smith.

uo;It's a bit sad, I don't actually want to think about it right now,” he said.

“Seabelo and Kwagga's leaving after the tour so hopefully we can send them off with a nice final win in Sydney.”