Both stalwarts are making a first appearance in the 2024 season and although the reasons for their delayed comeback are different, the desire to make it count is exactly the same.

Sage, who last played in Singapore in 2018, decided to give his ambition for a second Olympic Games medal another chance, something in the current scenario, could be seen as an interesting call as the Blitzboks have not even qualified for the 2024 Paris event yet.

That once-off opportunity will come in June, when the Olympic repechage event will be played in Monaco.

“Yes, it is still not guaranteed, and neither will be my selection, but I am willing to give it a shot,” said Sage from Singapore.

Sage was part of the squad that won the bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, but missed out on selection for the next Olympics in Japan, something that he wants to rectify this time around. His mission started when he decided to leave Montauban, his French club, a couple of weeks ago to rejoin the Blitzboks in Stellenbosch again, and he will have another reality check in Singapore this weekend.

“There are enough old heads here that helped me slot in with ease, I have played a lot of rugby with most of the senior guys, so there are really only just a couple of new players for me to get used to,” Sage explained.

“For now, just want to get some tournament time in and get the feet working to the sevens beat again.”

Dylan Sage at Blitzbok training in Singapore on Monday.

Dylan Sage at Blitzbok training in Singapore on Monday.

Sage admitted his return to sevens was tough: The field training was the hardest part, but culturally it was an easy transition back into the squad. The guys were very welcoming and it was a bit of a crash course, but I picked up the pieces quickly I hope.”

A gym session post arrival in Singapore and Sage was good to go: “The gym session was good, it helped to stretch the legs a bit after a long flight, so I’m feeling good and excited to give it another go.”

If Sage’s smile was broad, Soyizwapi’s was even wider, as he is making his return after knee surgery and many months of rehab, and arriving in Singapore confirmed this reality.

“The reality of the comeback is so much better than I anticipated,” said Soyizwapi. “It is really nice being out here with the team and realising we are a couple of days away of playing in a tournament again. It is a great feeling.”

Soyizwapi has made peace with the way his season panned out: “What happened (the injury) happened and I needed to accept and adapt. I knew I wanted to come back to this level again, so the motivation was easy.

“Sevens is a tough game, make no mistake, but I wanted to be this tired again and knowing that despite that, I still have a job to do for the team. It was tough to watch from the outside, this is really where I wanted to be.”

The Blitzboks face Spain (07h58 SA time) and Samoa (13h10 SA time) in their opening pool games on Friday, and France on Saturday morning at 08h24 (SA time).