June 18, 2024

Tricky Ricky determined to impress in Perth

Ricardo “Tricky Ricky” Duarttee is determined to make a similar impact for the Springbok Sevens side just like when he made his debut  for the Blitzboks last year.

After being named as World Rugby’s Rookie of the Year for the 2023 season, “Tricky Ricky” missed out in Dubai and Cape Town in December 2023 as the coaching staff decided to go with a fit-again Selvyn Davids and Ronald Brown in the playmaker/sweeper role.

When the Blitzboks run out in Perth this weekend, there will be two uncapped players and three returnees to the squad who will all bring energy to the squad determined to bounce back from a disappointing outing in Cape Town last month.

Perth as a venue will also bring a fresh outlook to the 2024 HSBC SVNS season, but even if the tournament was played on the South Pole,  Tricky Ricky  hopes to be a ray of sunshine to the Blitzboks’ effort for the third tournament of the season, the 26-year-old playmaker said on Wednesday.

“It is massive to be back,” said Duarttee. “It was not nice missing out as I wanted to be part of another full season, but I understand why the coaches opted for a different combination.

“You have to handle disappointments as well, as it’s all part of the bigger meaning of life. For me, it was a matter of self-belief, I still believed that I could contribute to the team and worked hard to prove that. This weekend will not be about me though, it will be about the team and how we can perform here in Perth.”

Duarttee is quick to add that, despite the accolade from last season, he is still learning and growing as a sevens player, and he tuned into his responsibilities for the weekend.

“There are some really good players in this set-up and in a way, I was lucky to be able to learn from them when I arrived here,” he said.

“That has not changed as I still try and become a better player every day. Communication is important, everybody must know what the others are planning or expecting. Off the field, I am also hoping to be putting the guys in a good mood and wanting to go out there and enjoy the moment.”

For James Murphy, the road back into the squad was slightly different, with illness and injury resulting in the forward missing out on months of training and team selection, but his return came at a good time for the two-time World Series winner.

James Murphy  (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images)

“It is really great to be back, especially after the misfortunes I had with my health and injuries that hampered my progress,” said Murphy, adding that missing out on the first two tournaments didn’t mean that he had no role to play over the last two months.

“We all contribute to make the system better. When they won in Dubai, I was as happy as I was unhappy with what transpired in Cape Town.

“The players all work together to achieve the best result, but when things go south, like in Cape Town, we all accept responsibility and put in the extra effort to make sure we bounce back. There are some younger players this time around, so I do feel like a senior player in this group and need to deliver accordingly.”

Source: SA Rugby

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