Double blow for Blitzbokke
Niggling injuries to regular stalwarts Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez have forced the hand of Springboks Sevens coach Paul Treu in his final selection of the squad to travel to Glasgow and London for the last two rounds of the IRB Sevens World Series.
Afrika and Du Preez both played incisive roles in Tokyo, where the South Africans won the tournament to move up to the second place in the World Series standings behind New Zealand.
Afrika (knee) and Du Preez (groin) were pulled out of the touring squad on medical advice, but could still be available for the London leg of the series.
The unavailability of the two playmakers resulted in a debut tour for 19-year-old Pretoria player WJ Strydom, who has been part of the national Sevens Elite Player Development squad.
Treu also brought back veteran sweeper Paul Delport and was delighted to include Justin Geduld and Seabelo Senatla. Both youngsters just toured Argentina with the South African Under-20 Training Squad recently and could be named in the SA U20’s Junior World Championship squad on Thursday.
They will return to South Africa after the Scotland event and their replacements for London will be named later.
In a third change from the Tokyo winning squad, Pieter Engelbrecht replaces Tshotsho Mbovane.
“Injuries are part and parcel of any team, but we really had the worst of it in the last couple of months,” Treu said.
“The depth of our squad has been tested severely this year and I am proud of the way we responded when the team seemed down and out. The attitude of the guys is great, despite the injuries to our playmakers. Everyone realises that we will have to graft to achieve success this time around and everyone is looking forward to that challenge.”
South Africa will face Samoa, Canada and Kenya in group A of the Glasgow Sevens, to be played on 4-5 May at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow.
The squad to travel to Glasgow and London is: Frankie Horne (captain), Chris Dry, Philip Snyman, Jamba Ulengo, Cornal Hendricks, Pieter Engelbrecht, Stephan Dippenaar, Justin Geduld, Seabelo Senatla, Steven Hunt, Paul Delport, WJ Strydom.