Commonwealth Games 2022: Sevens gold for South Africa 'really amazing' - Siviwe Soyizwapi

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South Africa celebrate Commonwealth Games goldSouth Africa had won rugby sevens gold at the Commonwealth Games once before, in Glasgow in 2014
Hosts: Birmingham Dates: 28 July to 8 August
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The captain of South Africa men's rugby sevens side says winning gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games is "really amazing" for a country which is passionate about the sport.

South Africa had previously won Commonwealth gold in 2014 and Olympic bronze in 2016, while the Springboks are three-time men's World Cup winners in the 15-a side game.

"In South Africa, rugby runs through our veins and in our blood," Siviwe Soyizwapi told BBC Sport Africa.

"As a small boy, that's something you just get attached to as you grow up. You aspire to be a Springbok and to represent your country.

"There are so many talented players in our country and so many individuals who aspire to be where we are. To be part of the 13 out of so many people that get to represent South Africa is special.

"To have a gold medal is something that I can't put into words.

"It's a massive honour to be captain. The culture of the team is really what leads the side, and each player is a captain in their own position. Each of them is so committed to the system."

Coach Neil Powell praised a "clinical" performance by his side, highlighting their "amazing work ethic" in defence.

"I think that's probably the thing that allowed us to win this gold medal - how the guys worked in defence and threw their bodies into tackles," he told BBC Sport Africa.

"They showed a lot of heart and fight. I'm really happy they could get the rewards for a lot of hard work that went in leading up to this tournament."

Pressure of home World Cup Sevens to come

Selvyn Davids of South Africa in action against Vuiviwa Naduvalo of FijiSouth Africa's men are assured of a place in the last 16 at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in September

South Africa will host the Rugby World Cup Sevens in September, after which Powell - who spent six years as a sevens player with South Africa before nine as a coach - will step down to move into 15s.

"It's obviously huge when we can host major tournament like the World Cup Sevens - not just for South Africa, but for Africa as well," he said.

"We've got home crowd advantage that we will hopefully use to our advantage. It will obviously be a lot of pressure for us to perform and hopefully get the same results as this weekend.

"It was a difficult decision to walk away from this, but I think for my own personal growth I needed a new challenge."

South Africa were World Cup Sevens runners-up in 1997, and finished fourth in the most recent edition in San Francisco in 2018.

Wing Soyizwapi is relishing the chance to perform on home soil in Cape Town after their success at the Commonwealth Games.

"To be able to represent [South African] people is a massive honour, and to be able to represent them in our home country and in front of them it's just truly amazing," the 29-year-old said.

"It's really exciting times for us. To be able to play in front of our friends and our families, as a team, we don't get a lot of opportunity to do that.

"To be able to do that now at the level of a World Cup is something I can't put into words."

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