Johannesburg – A youthful Western Province Sevens squad will be hoping to make its presence felt at the inaugural Sevens Premier League in George this weekend.
The team will be coached by WP's Vodacom Cup-winning coach, John Dobson, with former WP flanker Jerome Paarwater managing this exciting group of players – which includes three South African Under-20 players.
Backs Pat Howard, Kobus van Wyk and Dean Hammond all featured in the IRB Junior World Championships-winning SA Under-20 squad earlier this year.
They, in turn, will be joined by talented loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe (who is just 19 years old and fresh out of school), WP Under-21 star Tim Swiel (an SA U20 squad member ahead of 2013), relatively experienced Sevens campaigners in the shape of Marvin Christians and Freddie Muller and the elusive talents of the diminutive Chevandre van Schoor.
“We have chosen an exciting young 'emerging' team which compromises some of the best young attacking talent we have in the professional ranks as well as some of the amateur talent that has come through the talent identification system,” said Dobson.
“The likes of Pat Howard, Kobus van Wyk and Dean Hammond are big boys all of whom have been in the SA Under-20 mix who are very skilled and Timo Swiel is a masterful attacker and we are thrilled with the signing and future of Sikhumbuzo Notshe, a local lad from Langa who has just matriculated at Wynberg Boys' High for whom he starred on the rugby field.
“But,” added Dobson, “just as exciting is the inclusion of some of the stars of WP club rugby like Vivian Fredericks, Freddie Muller, Danwill Erasmus, who will captain the side, and the exciting Chevandre van Schoor of whom we expect great things.”
Looking ahead to the weekend's action in George, Dobson admitted: “We are probably one if the youngest and less experienced teams, especially as some of the other unions have sent some established stars and the invitational teams contain some Sevens experts but we will give it a crack.
“Anything can happen in 14 minutes and as I have told the team, every time you pull the Blue & White hoops over your head and wear a Disa on your chest, no matter where or when, you do so with dignity, pride and give your all.”
Team: Arno Johnson, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Craig Pheiffer, Kobus van Wyk, Marvin Christians, Chevandre van Schoor, Danwill Erasmus (captain), Vivian Fredericks, Freddie Muller, Tim Swiel, Dean Hammond, Pat Howard – Sapa