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Blitzboks jet off to Rio in search of gold

The team is preparing for three days of intense action from 9 to 11 August.

Juan de Jongh races past Zimbabwe's Stephan Hundaza during the Blitzboks' opening game on the first day of the Cape Town Sevens tournament on 12 December 2015. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Springbok Sevens rugby squad have begun their journey for Gold and join the rest of Team South Africa in Brazil, as the start of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro loom.

Rugby will make its long awaited return to the Olympic Games during three days of intense action from 9 to 11 August. The Blitzboks team will be aiming for Olympic glory in Rugby Sevens, and are looking to improve on their second place finish in the World Series Sevens this year. They will come up against Spain, France and Australia in Pool B of the competition.

Coach Neil Powell said before their departure that the squad were pretty thrilled to be on their way to Rio.

"We are very excited to be part of the Olympic Games and finally travel to Rio."

He went onto say, "I must admit, we are also a bit nervous. We know that in a once-off tournament like this, everyone is in with a chance to win it. If you are not 110 percent ready by the time the first match starts, then it can become a very tough tournament for you."

For Springbok Sevens captain Kyle Brown, the hard work and lengthy wait is over.

"It has suddenly become very real. We are at the airport now and everybody is wearing their Team South Africa track suits. I realised this morning that most of the things we have done in the last couple of years was for this, and that it is very exciting for me and the rest of the guys."

He added that the squad is relishing joining an even bigger team in Rio.

"It will be awesome to join up with the rest of our Olympic team and play a small part in our SA Olympic effort. We hope to make everyone proud."

Blitzboks squad for Rio: Kyle Brown (captain), Tim Agaba, Philip Snyman, Werner Kok, Dylan Sage, Kwagga Smith, Rosko Specman, Cheslin Kolbe, Cecil Afrika, Justin Geduld, Juan de Jongh, Seabelo Senatla. Travelling reserves: Chris Dry, Francois Hougaard.

Blitzboks schedule for Rio Olympic Rugby Sevens fixtures are (all times SA) :

Tuesday 9 August:

4.30pm: South Africa v Spain

9.30pm: South Africa v France

Wednesday 10 Augus t

4.30pm: South Africa v Australia

9pm: Start of play-offs

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