CAPE TOWN – Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell is confident that they will be a very competitive team at the Rugby World Cup Sevens if they just “play to their strengths and within their game plan”.
The Sevens spectacle will be played from July 20 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, and Powell has named an experienced squad for the three-day event.
The Blitzboks - who have never won the Melrose Cup - are the top seeded team for the Rugby World Cup Sevens and all 12 players in the squad were involved in the last World Series, which the Blitzboks defended successfully.
Only skipper Philip Snyman, however, has experience of playing at a Rugby World Cup Sevens event ( Dubai, 2009 and Moscow, 2013), and he will also become the first Blitzbok to play in three RWC Sevens tournaments.
Kyle Brown, Cecil Afrika, Chris Dry, Seabelo Senatla, Tim Agaba and Stedman Gans were all ruled out due to injury, while Kwagga Smith and Sikhumbuzo Notshe were not considered because of their Super Rugby duties.
“We do not have the greatest of records in this tournament, but that said, we know we will be a very competitive team if we play to our strengths and within our game plan,” Powell said about his team’s chances in the USA.
Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Paul Delport has included four uncapped players for the third edition Rugby World Cup Women’s Sevens tournament.
Zenay Jordaan and Mathrin Simmers are the only players who have played in a Rugby World Cup Sevens and will add some experience to Delport’s squad.
Jordaan, who will play in her third RWC Sevens tournament - a record for a Springbok Women’s Sevens player - has also featured in two World Cups in Fifteens and has been named in a playmaking role for the event.
“This is the best squad we could pick,” Delport said “We take on a highly regarded and capable team in women’s sevens, but the one thing we are not going to do is to accept any result without us having a say in that.”
The Springbok Sevens team is:
Ryan Oosthuizen, Philip Snyman (captain), Dylan Sage, Zain Davids, Werner Kok, Heino Bezuidenhout, Dewald Human, Rosko Specman, Justin Geduld, Selvyn Davids, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Ruhan Nel.
The Springbok Women’s Sevens team is:
Marithy Pienaar, Christelene Steinhobel, Buhle Sonomzi, Babalwa Latsha, Zinhle Ndawonde, Mathrin Simmers, Zenay Jordaan, Zintle Mpupha (captain), Eloise Webb, Nadine Roos,Snenhlanhla Shozi,Kimico Manuel.