CAPE TOWN – Sevens superstar Seabelo Senatla might have spent some time away from the Sevens camp, but Blitzbok skipper Philip Snyman isn’t expecting a rusty Senatla at the London leg of the 2017-18 World Sevens Series this weekend.
Senatla joined the Stormers in March earlier this year to pursue his fifteens dreams, and this will be his first Sevens tournament since, having last played in Hamilton, New Zealand.
And while he only rejoined the Blitzboks last week to prepare for the remaining two tournaments in England and Paris, Snyman wasn’t too worried about what Senatla’s time away from the Sevens game might have done to his form, while the 31-year-old is also looking forward to making up for lost time as he was one of a number of the players who missed the Hong Kong and Singapore events due to their inclusion in Neil Powell’s Commonwealth Games
“Guys like Ruhan (Nel), Justin (Geduld) and Branco (du Preez) missed those tournaments, so like myself, they are very keen to get back and contribute,” Snyman said.
“We are delighted to have Seabelo back and watching him at training in the last week or so, he is ready to go. He was a World Sevens Player of the Year and it is clear why, so we have a lot of confidence in his abilities.”
Senatla, who played some Super Rugby with Robbie Fleck’s Stormers, said that his return was an easy one.
“It was easy coming back, this family always stayed family and I watched them play when I was away,” Senatla said.
“I am not going to try and change anything this weekend,” said Senatla about the forthcoming Pool D clashes with Russia, Samoa and Canada at Twickenham Stadium tomorrow.
“There are small adjustments to be made, but thanks to my teammates and coaches, I believe things will go well. I am keen to get back on the field with these guys.”
The Blitzboks are currently second on the series log, four points behind Fiji, and Powell’s team will certainly be looking to claim their second series win in as many years. After all, following their disappointment on Australia’s Gold Coast - where they bagged the bronze medal - Powell did say that they have another goal to achieve this season - retaining their series title.
The remaining work towards that goal starts at Twickenham tomorrow. And if everyone in the team does his part, it’s a goal that Snyman believes is well within reach.
“We have a number of old hands who have been here before, some exciting younger faces with their energy, and then off course, we have Seabelo Senatla back for the last two tournaments,” Snyman said.
“So there is a nice balance in the squad.
“One basically has to make sure everyone is focused on the process and what we want to achieve as a unit.
“If everyone ticks his own boxes, we can be a very competitive team.
“It is time to go out and do the business. We want to go out there and play the rugby that we know we can, enjoy the moment and play with a smile on our faces.”
The Blitzbok fixtures for tomorrow are: (SA times)
The top five sides on the World Series log standings are:
1. Fiji 145
2. South Africa 141
3. New Zealand 120
4. Australia 108
5. USA and Kenya 93