Dream come true for new Blitzboks sensation 'Tricky Ricky': 'Something I've never experienced'

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South Africa's Ricardo Duarttee celebrates after scoring a try against Great Britain at Cape Town Stadium. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)
South Africa's Ricardo Duarttee celebrates after scoring a try against Great Britain at Cape Town Stadium. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

New Blitzboks sensation Ricardo Duarttee is relishing the opportunity of playing in front of his home fans at Cape Town Stadium.

LIVE | Cape Town Sevens

Duarttee, 24, burst onto the sevens scene during last weekend's Dubai Sevens where he was instrumental in South Africa's title run.

Duarttee was dubbed "Tricky Ricky" at the Dubai event and he's again caught the eye in Cape Town this weekend. 

The playmaker was on fire in Saturday night's 21-14 win over Great Britain in the Cup quarter-finals.

He scored an impressive try and slotted three conversions for a personal haul of 11 points as the Blitzboks booked a semi-final date with Samoa on Sunday afternoon.

"It's a dream come true. I'm just so thankful and blessed for this opportunity. I know this is just the beginning for me... I really believe that with God's help, I'm going to reach heights with this opportunity," Duarttee told reporters after the Great Britain game.

Duarttee said the vibe at Cape Town Stadium was incredible.

"It is something I've never experienced in my life, it's really something that I'm excited [to experience] for tomorrow," he said. "I think there will be a lot of energy. On Friday, I was quite shocked by only 20% capacity and [it] still made a lot of noise! 

"But now I'm getting more into the game, and I don't even hear the crowd as much anymore. But I know tomorrow's going to be special when we sing the national anthem." 

It was earlier reported that Duarttee had to sell his car to pay for his enrolment at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS Rugby Sevens Academy).

It's a move that reaped rewards in 2022 and Duarttee says he's slotted in seamlessly with the more experienced Blitzbok campaigners. 

"I've been living with them for a while now, since the beginning of the year, playing for SAS Academy... seeing them and greeting them every day. We managed to form a relationship outside of the team and when we got the opportunity to train together it only got better. And as soon as I got into the team [they] made me feel so at home.

"Now I just want to bring a vibe into the team, bring energy and they love it." 

READ | How a broken leg explains Ricardo 'Tricky Ricky' Duarttee's instant Blitzbok cult hero status

When probed on letting his emotions out on the field, Duarttee explained: "I've been hard on myself since I've planned to become a Springbok, which is pretty much my whole life. So, I've always been hard on myself and I would say that the emotions really come out when I can smile and achieved something that I really wanted to achieve."

Looking ahead to Sunday's semi-final against Samoa - and a possible title success in the final - Duarttee said: "You have to believe that you can achieve this. I keep my feet on the ground, but I keep my head high and I know where my power comes from."

The Blitzboks will tackle Samoa in the Cup semi-finals at 15:46 on Sunday. The other semi-final will be between New Zealand and USA (15:24).  

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