Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell says they are better prepared for the opening leg of the 2019-20 World Sevens Series than they were last year. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell says they are better prepared for the opening leg of the 2019-20 World Sevens Series than they were last year.

The Blitzboks will boast an experienced side for the Dubai Sevens, with a number of returning veterans named for next weekend’s tournament.

Former World Player of the Year, Seabelo Senatla, World Player of the Year nominee Rosko Specman and current SA Rugby Sevens Player of the Year, Dylan Sage will return to the team for the opening tournament, while Ruhan Nel will feature for the Blitzboks for the first time in a year after he toured with the Springboks in November last year. It will also be Senatla and Sage’s first tournament in a year. Siviwe Soyizwapi has been named captain for the new season and will run out in his 29th tournament at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai. He took over the captaincy from an injured Philip Snyman for the last four tournaments last season.

Youngsters Kurt-Lee Arendse and JC Pretorius will take part in their first event for the Blitzboks in Dubai, while the experience of Ryan Oosthuizen, Chris Dry, Zain Davids, Selvyn Davids and Justin Geduld will up the squad’s tournaments-played tally.

“I think we are better prepared compared to the same time last year,” said Powell. “We had warm-up tournaments in Germany, Kenya and England, and everyone had a good run in at least one of those. Selection was tough, as most of the regulars are available for the opening tournament.”

Christi Grobbelaar will travel as the 13th player, and if he takes to the field, he will make his World Series debut.

The Blitzboks will be hunting their seventh Dubai title (they won in 2003, 2006, 2008, 2014, 2016 and 2017) and after last year’s disappointing start, where they finished sixth, Powell is aiming for a strong kick-off.

South Africa will face England, Spain and Kenya in Pool D, while World Rugby Sevens Series champions Fiji will challenge France, Argentina and Japan in Pool A.

The Blitzbok squad is:

1. Chris Dry, 2. Ryan Oosthuizen, 3. Dylan Sage, 4. Zain Davids, 5. JC Pretorius, 6. Siviwe Soyizwapi, 7. Selvyn Davids, 8. Rosko Specman, 9. Justin Geduld, 10. Kurt-Lee Arendse, 11. Seabelo Senatla, 12. Ruhan Nel, 13. Christi Grobbelaar

@WynonaLouw 


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