CAPE TOWN – The Springbok Sevens team will assemble in Stellenbosch on Tuesday with two huge challenges looming early next month.
The team will contest the seventh tournament of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, in Hong Kong on 6 to 8 April and represent Team South Africa at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia from 14 to 15 April.
Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, decided to take a two-phase approach for the two tournaments, resulting in two different squads preparing for the separate events.
SA Rugby Sevens Academy coach, Marius Schoeman, will take charge in Asia with a number of uncapped players getting an opportunity to represent the Blitzboks for the first time in Hong Kong, while Powell will prepare the squad that will travel to Gold Coast as part of Team South Africa.
Powell will be able to count on players such as Justin Geduld, Werner Kok, Rosko Specman and Ruhan Nel in the bid to retain Commonwealth Gold, as they are all in the final phase of recovering from injury.
The team will be without Kwagga Smith (Vodacom Super Rugby) and Seabelo Senatla (injured) for the Australian trip.
"We looked at the schedule and the demands and decided to go for this approach,” said Powell. “It was not feasible for us to have the same squad playing at both events, as we had too many injuries to leading players and need more time for them to be integrated back into the squad.
“One of our objectives was to broaden our base of talented youngsters by giving them playing time on the circuit and this is just such an opportunity. I was very pleased with the way a number of youngsters performed in Vancouver, so this is another chance for them to gain experience and establish themselves."
The Blitzboks will face South Korea, Scotland and England in Pool C in Hong Kong.
Schoeman will name his team to travel to the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens on 29 March.
African News Agency (ANA)