Blitzbokke change two for PE
The Blitzbokke have made two changes to their 12-man squad for their home tournament, the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens, which takes place on 7 and 8 December in Port Elizabeth.
Steven Hunt replaces Jamba Ulengo while Kwagga Smith will make his HSBC Sevens World Series and Springbok Sevens debut in place of Stephan Dippenaar. Ulengo (foot) and Dippenaar (hamstring) were injured last week in Dubai, where South Africa finished as runners-up to Fiji.
Veteran forward Frankie Horne has been declared fit and will play in his 53rd World Series tournament, a unique World Series record.
Hunt is a Springbok Sevens contracted player and regular World Series squad member, who last played at the Gold Coast Sevens, where South Africa placed fourth.
Smith, a Junior Springbok, comes in for his debut tournament after he has been part of the SA Sevens Academy and the wider Springbok Sevens training group for the past two years. The Golden Lions flanker is very familiar with the Springbok Sevens set-up and should slot in easily. He was one of the standout players for the SA Sevens Academy playing under the banner of the Samurai Internationals, who won their Dubai Invitational title for a fourth successive time last weekend.
South Africa is currently third on the World Series log behind New Zealand and Fiji, and will be hoping to not only close the gap but also to add to their single home title, which they won five years ago in George.
Neil Powell, the Springbok Sevens coach said his team will be aiming to maintain the form they showed in Dubai last week.
“Consistency is key for us and we will therefore look to keep our focus and do really well on day one," he explained.
"Our management and players know very well the importance of this tournament and the expectations of our home supporters.
Commenting on the changes, Powell said: “Kwagga has been with the SA Sevens Academy for some time now and he had a good outing in Dubai last week, so he deserves his chance. Steven should also slot in with ease because he is a World Series regular for us.”
South Africa's fixtures on Saturday are:
12h50: v Canada
16h18: v Spain
19h58: v Kenya
The Springbok Sevens squad for Port Elizabeth is:
Chris Dry, Phillip Snyman, Frankie Horne, Kwagga Smith, Sampie Mastriet, Kyle Brown (Captain), Branco du Preez, Steven Hunt, Justin Geduld, Cecil Afrika,Werner Kok, Cheslin Kolbe.