The 31-year-old said he is delighted knowing that he is ready to play for the Blitzboks again.

“At times my return felt so far away, and I’m very happy to be fit for selection again,” said Soyizwapi.

The veteran of 51 world series tournament suffered a serious knee injury in August last year and following an operation and rehabilitation, Soyizwapi hopes to travel east when Philip Snyman announces his squad for Singapore next week.

“It was tough when I got injured as the 2024 season was full of potential highlights, like the opportunity to play in front of family, friends and fans in Cape Town, to experience the re-jigged format of the series and new stops like Perth, the big season finale in Madrid and then of course, the Olympics in Paris,” Soyizwapi reflected.

However, the injury cast a shadow on all of that: “It was clear then that timelines were going to be tight, especially with potentially making it to the Olympics.”

Soyizwapi was out of the game for eight months and missed a lot of action, but he hopes to be back when the Blitzboks will have a third bite at the cherry to book their trip to France at the Olympic repechage in Monaco in June.

And although he spent months working hard on his rehabilitation, Soyizwapi said that mentally, it felt like he was gone for only a couple of days.

“I was always going to make a comeback – I had to give myself that opportunity,” he said.

“Like any player, I want to retire from the game on my terms, not one dictated by injury and the Olympics was something that I wanted to experience again, especially after the pandemic-impacted Games in Japan. So, the mind quickly went from despair to determination, to be honest.”

Rehab was tough, as it normally is after any ligament reconstruction, but the real pain came from a disjointed Blitzbok effort during the 2024 series, and for Soyizwapi, as the leader of the team, it was a difficult time.

“It was really frustrating to watch,” he said.

“Firstly, you want to be out there, playing with the team that you care for so much, and secondly you see from afar what the issues are, but you cannot do anything about them.

“Especially if those things are preventable, like not following the game plan or staying with the structures as set out by the coaches.”

However, he is finally back in contention to be closer to the action.

“Yes, I am available again," Soyizwapi said with a broad smile.

“I know there are no guarantees, and I take nothing for granted. Since receiving my clearance to train again a couple of weeks ago, I have been pushing hard for a spot in the team.

“If it comes for the Singapore event in two weeks’ time, I will be very happy. It will be a couple of weeks earlier than the original date I was expected to be back, but I know that my hard work in rehab helped towards that.”

Soyizwapi has been there and done that and if selected, he will travel to Singapore for a seventh time, where he has lifted the trophy once before.

“I will feel like a debutant in some ways, after being out for so long and returning to the series for the first time, but at least, if selected, Singapore will continue to bring good memories, even if for this time, it was the venue for my comeback.”

For Snyman the return of Soyizwapi will be good news, as will the availability of Rosko Specman, who missed the most recent tournament, in Hong Kong, due to injury.

Dylan Sage, who last played for the Blitzboks in 2020 before he moved to the Vodacom Bulls and then Montauban, has rejoined the squad from France and is also available for selection for Singapore.

However, David Britz, Ronald Brown and Masande Mtshali will not be considered due to injury.

The pools for Singapore have been released. South Africa face France, Spain and Samoa in Pool B.
Pool A consist of New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Canada and in pool C Ireland, Fiji, USA and Great Britain will meet up.