Ask any of the Blitzboks who their toughest player at training is, and the name of Werner Kok is bound to come up as the answer – and that’s been the case for the last five seasons.
So when the popular player with his firebrand style expresses his happiness with the way training went thus far this week for the upcoming World Cup in San Francisco, it means that everyone had to lift their effort to keep up with the former World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year.
‘We play either Ireland or Chile on Friday evening and after the way we’ve trained so far, we will be ready when the tournament starts,’ Kok said after the Blitzboks played a warm-up chukka against Argentina.
‘It is always nice to have a proper warm-up against a quality team such as Argentina, as they test you in the areas that need improvement. We still have to make some tweaks, like our defence, but I think we’ll be ready.’
The Blitzboks have a number of players with proper experience of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, but only their captain, Philip Snyman, has played in a Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament before.
For Kok, this means the weekend’s tournament at AT&T Park presents an exciting opportunity.
‘I always wanted to play in this tournament, so I am pretty excited,’ said Kok. ‘The fact that the tournament will be played in San Francisco, another city none of us have not played in, adds to the excitement.
‘But knowing that the rest of the team will be ready and keen to play as well, is no doubt the most pleasing of all.’
Kok said the cobwebs from the long travel from South Africa are gone: ‘We had a good session Monday and the match against Argentina on Tuesday was just what we needed to get into the right frame of mind and body.
‘We are keen to go out there and express ourselves and to play for our country,’ he said.
Photos: Kok in action against Fiji in London, by Simon West/Action Plus via Getty Images)