Two newbies in Blitzbokke squad
Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu has included two debutants in his 12-man squad for the HSBC Sevens World Series' opening round on the Gold Coast in Australia next weekend.
Reuben Johannes (flanker, newly SA contracted) and Ruwellyn Isbell (Blue Bulls U19) are the newcomers.
Good news for the Blitzbokke is that several of their stalwarts who struggled with an assortment of injuries towards the end of last season, are fit and were selected for the season-opener.
Bernado Botha, however, has failed a fitness test after injuring himself at the Middelburg Sevens and is replaced by Stephan Dippenaar. The team will again be led by hooker Kyle Brown.
There is also a welcome return to the squad for winger Tshotsho Mbovane, who last played for the Blitzbokke in Australia and Hong Kong last year.
In Middelburg, the Blitzbokke got the better of current Sevens Rugby World Cup holders Wales in an entertaining final.
Treu said his team was looking forward to a very important season.
"Our aim is to win the World Series," he said.
"We had a disappointing campaign last season but have put that firmly behind us. The team is under no illusion that this is a massive year waiting for us."
Russia will host the Sevens Rugby World Cup in Moscow next June, and Treu believes a good showing in the World Series will lay the foundation for a huge Sevens RWC challenge.
Springboks Sevens squad: Chris Dry, Ruwellyn Isbell, Frankie Horne, Reuben Johannes, Cornal Hendricks, Kyle Brown (c), Branco du Preez, Stephan Dippenaar, Paul Delport, Cecil Afrika, Tshotsho Mbovane, Steven Hunt.